Saturday, 18 August 2018

We will never be turned away - sermon 19 August

Philippians 4: 4-9 John 6: 32-40 

One of the greatest privileges of ministry is to celebrate the sacraments – baptism and holy communion.
And when the baptism is of an adult or older child who makes that choice for themselves the meaning goes even deeper; today is one of those days.
I have in my almost 13 years of ministry baptised many babies, and also five adults and after today, two teenagers. I know exactly how many, because they each impacted me deeply. When I first came here in 2011 Rebekah was a little girl, whose enthusiasm was infectious; and it has been such a joy for all of us to watch you grow and mature Rebekah, into the lovely young woman you have become.
It is almost exactly a year since Rebekah asked me about being baptised; in a little while you will hear her speak about that, and why this time is the right time for her. We have had many conversations and together we have planned this service, she has chosen most of the hymns; and readings; and we have worked out every element of the day.
The reading from St Paul’s letter to the Philippians concludes with the verses we heard earlier – it can be summarised like this:
Rejoice. Do not worry. The peace of God will guard your heart. Keep on and God will be with you.
These are recommendations that have stood the test of time; rejoice, rejoice – look at the world with hope and joy.
Do not worry: because worrying doesn’t change a thing. Instead – offer it to God in prayer; and the let it go – when you do you will find God’s peace, which is better than anything else will guard your heart.
And finally, all these things you have learned will guide and guard you, and God’s peace will be with you.
How can we hear those promises from Paul to his fledgling church, and live them for us, today in the 21st century?
Well, let’s also consider Jesus’ teaching
Whoever comes to me (Jesus) will never hunger or thirst.
Anyone who comes to me, will not be driven away.
By following Jesus; by listening to his teaching; by living by his example; we can hold to his promises.
Not only that, but he follows the first two with the best of all:
         This is the will of my Father – that all who see and believe will have eternal life.
That’s you and me!!
That’s a promise for each one of us.
God is LOVE!
God, through his Son, Jesus Christ, came down to live with us so that we can know.
Know for sure
Know without doubt
That God loves us.
Jesus came to bring us life
Jesus came to give us hope
Jesus came to show us the way to heaven is not difficult.
Hear Jesus
Listen to his teaching
Live his life
And eternity is yours.
And once you’ve turned to him – you will never be turned away.
Whether you were baptised as a baby; or made that choice as an adult; whether you’ve followed Jesus for as long as you can remember, or came to know him only recently.
You will never be turned away.

Whatever the circumstances, God knows and loves each one of us; and seeks for us to know God, to follow Jesus, to be sustained by the Spirit
So that in all things
God’s peace will guard and keep us
And we will never be turned away.