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    • Sunday service - Holy Communion February 5, 2023 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 February 12, 2023 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 February 19, 2023 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:…

Trinity Sunday Year C RCL May 22, 2016

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Our opening lesson on this Trinity Sunday is about Wisdom. The concept of Wisdom is found in the Hebrew Scriptures and also in the literature of ancient lands near Israel. She is seen as feminine, and she was the first thing created by God. She assisted God in the creation of the world. She was “beside him, as master worker.”

In this ancient text, the idea of the  Christian Trinity had not yet been thought of, but Wisdom is often associated with Jesus because John’s gospel describes Jesus as the logos, the word, who called the creation into being, and that is very similar to Wisdom, who was “beside God as a master worker.” Wisdom, or Sophia, is also associated with the Holy Spirit, who is often seen as feminine. Commentator Douglas M. Donley writes, “Wisdom is the Holy Spirit personified.” Wisdom tells us how delighted she and God were during the process of creation. The creation was and is an action of joy.

Our epistle tells us that we have been justified by faith. Justified means that we have been placed in right relationship with God. Our Lord Jesus Christ has done this for us. He has come to be one of us and he has made it possible for us to be as close to God as a child is to his or her beloved parent. We receive the gift of faith and the gift of grace, and through these gifts our suffering leads to endurance. We are actually strengthened through our sufferings. We are able to persevere through hardships because of God’s love and grace. That endurance produces character. We become stronger, and our faith and our awareness of God’s grace grow. And that character, that strength, that ability to hang in there, that growing awareness of God’s love and God’s gifts of faith and grace, all work together to give us hope, and that hope lasts and lasts and never ends because God’s love is pouring into us through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In our gospel for today, we are with Jesus during his Farewell Discourse, his last teaching time with the apostles. He says something that is so poignant and so bittersweet. He says, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” Oh, these words take our breath away.

He can’t tell them what is going to happen. He is going to be arrested; he will go through a mock trial; he will be beaten; he will be crucified; he will rise again. If he tried to tell them about these things, they would not believe him. They are going to have to live through these events.

And then Jesus says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth….He will take what is mine and declare it to you.”

Think of what the disciples went through. Jesus was crucified. Some of them ran away. They were devastated. But then he began to appear to them. Here and there. They realized he was alive. But then he ascended to be with God. And there they were, without him.

He had promised to send the Holy Spirit, and, on Pentecost the Spirit arrived like a nighty wind, like the desert ruach, like flames dancing over their heads. And they were able to communicate with people from all over the known world in the languages of those people.

And then, as they went out to spread the Good News, we read in the Book of Acts about how the Spirit guided them to choose Matthias to join them and how the Spirit led them to meet with this person and to go to that town. The Spirit has continued to guide God’s people down to this very day.

“God in three persons, blessed Trinity,” the beloved hymn says. God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, or Sustainer. John Macquarie says that the Trinity involves vision, plan, and realization of the plan. God has the vision of creation. Jesus is the Word, the logos, the plan, the pattern for creation and for human life. Jesus, the Word, calls the creation into being. And the Holy Spirit brings forth and energizes the creation. God at work in us and in the world.

In her sermon, “Three Hands Clapping, “Barbara Brown Taylor writes, “Robert Farrar Capon says that when human beings try to describe God we are like a bunch of oysters trying to describe a ballerina. We simply do not have the equipment to understand something so utterly beyond us, but that has never stopped us from trying.”  (Taylor, Home by Another Way, p. 153.)

God comes to us in so many ways.

Each of us knows God as Creator. We go out at night and look at the sky, or we gaze on a meadow filled with wildflowers, or we watch the first light and then the sunrise, and  we marvel and give thanks.

Each of us knows Jesus, the Christ, our Redeemer. Every year, we sink more deeply into the unfathomable mystery of what he has done for us and how he leads us into new life. So often, some aspect of his life and ministry teaches us something new about sharing his love and healing. Every day. something he said or did gives direction to our lives. Every day, we meet the risen Christ or we see him out in front, leading us.

Each of us senses and knows the power of the Spirit, God at work in us and in our world. A skilled surgeon restores sight to an eye. Compassionate listening heals a broken heart. After much prayer, a direction becomes clear. A wise person sits down with nations that have been at war and helps them to walk the path to a lasting peace.

The concept of mysterium, mystery, something that is far beyond our ability to comprehend, is a wonderful thing. We may never understand the doctrine of the Trinity, and yet we can walk closely with God every minute of our lives.

“God in three persons, blessed Trinity.”  Amen.

Trinity Sunday Year C RCL May 26, 2013

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31
Psalm 8
Romans 5:1-5
John 16:12-15

Today we celebrate the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or in gender neutral language, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. Theologian John Macquarrie has a wonderful concept of the Trinity. He says that whenever we are going to create something, there is a vision of that creation, a plan for how to create it, and  then there is the realization of that plan.

Macquarrie says that God has a vision for the creation, Jesus is the plan for creation, he is the Word, the logos, the blueprint, pattern for human life. He is the One who calls the creation into being, and that the Holy Spirit brings about the realization of the plan. The Holy Spirit is God at work in us and in the world.

In the back of our Prayer Book, there is a Catechism. On page 846, there is the section on God the Father. It’s in a question and answer format. I will read the questions, Please respond with the answers.

Q. What do we learn about God as Creator from the revelation to Israel?
A. We learn that there is one God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.

Q. What does this mean?
A. This means that the universe is good, that it is the work of a single loving God who creates, sustains, and directs it.

Q. What does this mean about our place in the universe?
A. It means that the world belongs to its creator; and that we are called   to enjoy it and to care for it in accordance with God’s purposes.

Q. What does this mean about human life?
A. It means that all people are worthy of respect and honor, because all are created in the image of God, and all can respond to the love of God.

Q. How was this revelation handed down to us?
A. This revelation was handed down to us through a community created  by a covenant with God.

On page 849, we have the section on God the Son,.

Q. What do we mean when we say that Jesus is the only Son of God?
A. We mean that Jesus is the only perfect image of the Father, and shows us the nature of God.

Q.  What is the nature of God revealed in Jesus?
A. God is love.

Q. What do we mean when we say that Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and became incarnate from the Virgin Mary?
A. We mean that by God’s own act, his divine Son received our human nature from the Virgin Mary, his mother.

Q. Why did he take our human nature?
A. The divine Son became human, so that in him, human beings might be adopted as children of God, and be made heirs of God’s kingdom.

Q. What is the great importance of Jesus’ suffering and death?
A. By his obedience, even to suffering and death, Jesus made the offering which we could not make; in him we are freed from the power of sin and reconciled to God.

Q.  What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection?
A.  By his resurrection, Jesus overcame death and opened for us the way to eternal life.

Q. What do we mean when we say that he descended to the dead?
A.  We mean that he went to the departed and offered them the benefits of redemption.

Q.  What do we mean when we say that he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
A.  We mean that Jesus took our human nature into heaven where he now reigns with the Father and intercedes for us.

Q. How can we share in his victory over sin, suffering, and death?
A.  We share in his victory when we are baptized into the New Covenant and become living members of Christ.

On page 852, we have the section on the Holy Spirit.

Q. Who is the Holy Spirit?
A. The Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Trinity, God at work in the world and in the Church even now.

Q. How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the Old Covenant?
A. The Holy Spirit is revealed as the giver of life, the One who spoke through the prophets.

Q. How is the Holy Spirit revealed in the New Covenant?
A. The Holy Spirit is revealed as the Lord who leads us into all truth and enables us to grow in the likeness of Christ.

Q. How do we recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives?
A. We recognize the presence of the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord and are brought into love and harmony with God, with ourselves, with our neighbors, and with all creation.

–That is God’s shalom. When the whole creation is in harmony, God’s vision will be fully realized. That is what we are working for.

God in three persons—blessed Trinity. We experience God in these three ways, when we look at the beauty of creation, from a vast galaxy to the smallest little flower. When we write a poem or sing, or play an instrument, or do anything creative—build a cabinet, scrub a floor, take out a splinter, balance the books, listen to someone who is hurting, then we are experiencing God the Creator and we are being co-creators with God.

God the Son, our Redeemer, the One who frees us, who rescues us from sin. We are going around and around on our little hamster wheel, stuck in a never-ending circle of pride or wrath or envy or greed or lust or gluttony or sloth or addiction or fear or any of the things that can ensnare us and make us feel hopeless. And then he is there, reaching out with love and forgiveness, showing us the way out, freeing us to be the persons he calls us to be. That is Jesus, our Savior.

And the Holy Spirit. You can’t see the Spirit, but you can see the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness. and self-control. The Spirit is the One who is with us as Jesus reaches out in love and healing and gives us the energy to have hope once again, to get back on the journey. The Spirit is God at work within us and in the world. God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, are working mightily in Moore, Oklahoma right now, and all over our world, and right here, in us and among us.

God in three persons, blessed Trinity. May God’s Name be praised forever and ever.                Amen.