Sermon – October 12 – Note to Self
Where do Preachers come up with their ideas for sermons? Of course there is knowledge, research and also quiet prayer and contemplation with God. But almost always, it starts with the questions they ask themselves about the lessons for the day. What do we want/need to hear? In this letter to the congregation in Philippi, Paul uses the words joy or rejoice 14 times. To use those words that many times, they must be very important particularly since Paul was in prison at that time.
In today’s lesson, Paul is facing an uncertain future, yet he tells the people to give thanks to God no matter what their circumstances. How can we rejoice when everything around us seems to be going to heck in a hand basket? Let’s think about this. We can’t always control the events around us but we can control how we react to those experiences. People often use the word “luck” to determine where they are in life, good or bad. They were lucky to get a particular job offer or they were lucky to meet the right person or people. But people of faith don’t have to use the word luck. We recognize that everything is a gift from God, even our very lives. So when life does not seem to be going our way we can remember we are already gifted from God and can choose our response to particular events. We can be bitter or we can “rejoice in all things,” since faith tells us that there may be way more going on here than we could possibly understand and we trust God’s promises, (“Low I am with you always, even to the end of the ages.”)
Rejoice. Again I say rejoice.