A circle of friends on pilgrimage for the love of God

Easter 6

Peter Van Peborgh

Peter Van Peborgh
Easter 6 2024
Philippians 4:4-9

I’ve known Doug for a few years. And I foolishly contacted him and said, “Hey, I’m going to be in Knoxville and am coming to your church.” Next thing I know, he sent me a message saying, “Hey, can you preach?” So you’ve already got him to blame for what happens this morning. I’m from Church of England, and we have a lay ministers called lay readers who wear a blue stole normally. We’re not ordained in any way,but we’ve had some training, and we help me classes. We do all the non-sacramental stuff, basically. We even do funerals.

I send you I give you the greetings from my church. Our churches is in Somerset? The original Somerset, not the ones you’ve got scattered all over the USA. Your original Somerset? I was preaching over there last week. I told them about you and got their permission to give you their greetings. And you’ll be pleased to know that these nice English people send to their greetings to you. comes from the congregation from our minister. From everybody there. The church is called St. John’s.

I want to talk to you this morning, about something personal. I’ve been a Christian for more years than I’d like to remember. I’ve been a Christian since 1963. It wasn’t always very easy. I used to say the right things. I used to think the right things I used to do the right things. And somehow it wasn’t quite what I was what I thought it would be like; it certainly wasn’t whatever people told me shouldn’t be like.

After several decades, about 10 years ago, something happened. Something happened for no apparent reason. Prayer came alive for me. I found it much easier to pray since then. The passage I want to talk about today is what it says in Philippians. Please, this is not a method. This is not a formula. I’ve discovered two secrets, to having peace in my Christian life. Hopefully, maybe some of you will know this already. I believe the Lord wants me to talk about this morning. It’s to do with openness and with gratitude. The Old Testament the psalms are full of praise to the Lord. In the New Testament we are enjoined to confess: we confess that Jesus is Lord and we confess who we really are.

Confession. Do you find it easy to come to the Lord with absolutely everything in your life? However wonderful it is? Well, however wonderful you think it is, or however awful. The things you are truly, utterly and completely ashamed of.

Doubt is one of the secrets we confess to God. For goodness sake, He knows what you are like. He knows you better than yourself. So what are you hiding? Why are you hiding? Confession? Don’t forget if we confess our sins, He is for faithful and just to forgive us our sins. The first thing is complete openness with God, not just the good things. But also the things nobody knows apart from you. And him of course, be honest, honest.

The other element is gratitude.

You can be grateful for great things. We can be grateful for small things. You can be grateful for things that happen to you. My granddaughter graduated from East Tennessee State University yesterday. Thank you, God. This morning, I have a rather nice eggs on toast from Phillip. Thank you, God. There’s nothing too small. And there’s nothing too big to talk to God about. There’s nothing too irrelevant to talk to God about. There’s nothing that you can’t understand that is too big to talk to God about. So we are talking about taking those two together; we are talking about openness to God. The far end, the confession and, and the other, more joyful, perhaps end wishes to do with gratitude.

I found over the month ago that this really came together for me. As I was talking to my spiritual director a few a weeks ago, and it all fell into place. All these things I’ve talked about were happening. That’s when I suddenly realized that confession and gratitude, take them together in your life, lead to peace. Now we have peace with God because we belong to Him. He loves us more than we could possibly know. This is great to know of course, because He cares about us infinitely. And I found that because I have this openness to him. I’m still struggling with it at times, okay, I’m not perfect, just yet.

Confession and gratitude together bring about peace in my life. I’ve got some medical problems, and I don’t know where they’re going. I’ve been under the independent hands of our National Health Service. I’ve had some tests; I haven’t got the results yet. I could worry if I want to. We’re also trying to sell our house at the moment to move into a smaller house that we can better look after. And three, lots of people have said that they would come to look at our house. Every one of them cancelled before they turned up at all.

The point is, the point is, I’m at peace about the situation.

Our second reading struck me that it’s saying exactly what I’m trying to say. I don’t know why I’m even standing here. I mean, you heard me so a few minutes ago. The peace of the Lord in confession and gratitude. He speaks a peace where we realize all things are in his hands. I hope have said a few things that are possibly helpful, or at least some of you. Just take this away with you. Confession, plus gratitude equals peace. And if you can do put that into practice in your life, you will certainly find but I certainly found that peace descended.

I got more peace and love I used to have and the closer you get to God and confession in gratitude, the closer you will get to this peace. Amen.

 Lord, help us to put into practice that you want us to be, to confess to you all things, and to be great grateful to you also for all things that you bring our way. Thank you that these things will lead to peace not only with you, but peace, in our own lives in the things that happened to us from day to day. Amen.

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