Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Sermon - November 25, 2010

The Rev. Peter M. Carey
Thanksgiving Sermon
25 November 2010
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Greenwood, VA
In the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

Philippians 4:4-9
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.
Do we rejoice?  Do we celebrate what we have been given?  Do we start to think that we created things ourselves, rather than resting in the arms of God, resting and rejoicing for all we have.  Rejoice IN the Lord.  God knows us down to our very bones, down to our marrow, and yet, yet…God still holds us close.  The thought seems too wonderful to me.  Though God knows me, my secrets and things I hide from the world – and still God loves me, and God holds us close.  Rejoice in the Lord, always.  Again, I will say, Rejoice!

Let your gentleness be known to everyone.
Do you feel gentle?  Do you turn to your gentle side, or are you more apt to turn to your harsh side?  As we enter into the holiday season, can we recapture our gentle side?  Can we take the time that is needed to let the “better angels of our natures” guide us…and not only guide, us but also that we have the courage to share this gentleness with others.  This time of busy-ness, doing, to do lists, decreasing sunlight, and all the rest may leave us feeling not so gentle.  However, we can turn to God, take time for silence and find great comfort.

The Lord is near.
The Lord is near!  There is a bumper sticker that says, “Jesus is coming, look busy.”  I would say, Jesus is coming – Rejoice!

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Do you worry?  Do you fear?  We are in the midst of wars abroad, and an economy that leaves us wondering how the future will look.  We are in the midst of political battles that leave us falling back to old and tired divisions between left and right.  Do not worry about anything.  But pray.  Pray.  By prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God!  Give it to God.  Do not worry!

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
And you will be blessed.  The peace of God will guard your hearts and minds.  You are blessed.  The peace of God will wash over you like a warm breeze.  The fears and anxieties are taken away, and God’s peace, which surpasses all our imaginations, all of our understanding, all of our dreams and visions will overcome us and leave us at rest, in peace.

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
And so, think about these things.  Think about how we should rejoice in God.  Think about turning to our gentleness.  Think about the fact that the Lord is near!  The Lord is near!  Turn over your worry to God in prayer and supplication.  And that awesome peace of God will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 

Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

And don’t only think about these things, but keep on doing them.  Keep on doing that rejoicing, with gentleness, without worry, offering prayers, and recognizing the peace which passes all understanding.. That peace which we cannot fully understand; but only experience a piece of here in this time.  That peace which may come to us in this holiday time, if we take the time for silence, time for gratitude, time for thanksgiving, time for eucharisto – Eucharist.  Keep on doing the things that we have learned and received and heard and seen in Christ, for the God of peace will be with us!  Amen!

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