Jesus Our Liturgist
July 11, 2020 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Verse: Matthew 13:1–13:2
Christ Lutheran Church
July 12, 2020
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
On that same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea; but large crowds gathered about him, so he boarded a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood on the shore. And he told them many things in parables. (Matthew 13:1-3)
Dear Christians let us not only hear what Jesus teaches in today’s gospel, but the circumstances under which he does it. Then we will better understand that THIS assembly, in THIS sacred space, on THIS holy day, is not something new – but a continuation of the Liturgy we hear of in St. Matthew today – and that Jesus is as surely among us now, as he was among them at that time.
Remember that it is HIS Word that we hear in the church today. HIS glorified flesh and blood that fills us with the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God and the Communion of the Holy Spirit. (2 Cor. 13:14)
We come here today empty, wondering, wandering, with either too high or too low an opinion of ourselves. We come soiled with sin, weak, confused, and unsure of what is real and what is not. We come filled with doubts and worries about the day, and even more about tomorrow.
But, God be praised, all of that is fixed on the seashore of the church today for we are the grains of sand that the Lord promised to Abraham as his descendants 4,000 years ago – and as the grains are steadily hydrated, saturated with water, and never go dry, so that they cannot be separated, or dried out and blown away, even we in the seashore that is the church.
Let us also learn that what St. Matthew records for the church in his gospel are not just random events from the Lord’s life. But if we read carefully we will find that Jesus intentionally goes from place to place, calling the lost sheep of this world to the true worship of God; and miracle of miracles he is doing the same thing among us today.
We are the good soil in the parable, in which the seed has taken root and produced a harvest of fruit for our God.
We did not make ourselves good soil, or produce good fruit under our own steam – that is impossible for the sons of Adam! But not impossible for Jesus who says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
But St. Paul makes sure that we understand things aright. That our status as “heirs of God,” is due to God’s grace. God’s kindness. God’s goodness. And God’s ever-enduring love for ship-wrecked humanity.
Yes, we are all beggars. All living on divine welfare. All looking to God, like the young lions, to fill us with his own fullness. (Ps. 104:21)
But St. Paul also says we are saved “by grace THROUGH FAITH.” And faith means only one thing: Christ. All eyes on him. All ears on his Word which falls on us today like the gentle dews of heaven.
Not the Jesus of pop theology or Marxist ideology. But faith in the “Suffering Servant” whose sacred blood washes us clean from every sin, and guards our precious faith by his Holy Spirit. He transforms us from skanky strumpets; into his own spotless bride without blemish or wrinkle or any such thing.
Yes, THIS is the time and place where Christ, who is God’s Word, falls gently upon us like the cleansing snows, and the refreshing rains of spring.
And as those elements bring about a breath-taking harvest – even so God’s Word, imbibed here, results in a rich harvest of faith, worship, and godly works, prescribed by God himself.
But there is a problem in our day. The competing religion of culture has claimed the moral high ground that belongs to the church and so Christians get mixed signals. They think that the world’s latest social cause is God’s cause: but it is not.
Case in point, you don’t have to support BLM to be a Christian. Indeed, you are better off not to because BLM is not about saving black lives.
If it were … then Christians would take up the cause just as they did in Germany to save Jews from Hitler. Like they did when they built the underground railroad to help slaves escape. Like they did when the church spear-headed the abolition movement in Britain and the US in the 19th century; and took up the Pro Life cause in the 20th.
But BLM is a front. A cover story for the religion known as Marxism. A religion that manipulates good people, who have true zeal for their fellow man – into helping the cause of evil.
No, the pastor is not preaching politics. BLM’s Marxist agenda; and its hatred of Christ can be learned by anyone with an internet connection in half an hour to spare.
While every Christian is in favor of equal treatment under the law for all people; let us not lend our sympathies to Marxism which is anti-Christ.
Nor need you wear a face mask to be a Christian. If you are doing it to protect your health, or others, from what you believe to be a credible threat, then you should by all means wear one!
But if you do not believe the media narrative, or think that “the cure is worse than the disease”, then don’t wear one.
But the harvest that God looks for is not passing social causes that will be forgotten in November; but that we should steadfastly fear, love and trust in him above all things. That we should not love the world, nor the things thereof.
But that we should put our lives into his keeping, carry out his will “at all times and in all places,” and store up treasures in heaven. Treasures of good works in service to God, and to one another.
He calls upon us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger and visit the sick. And he sanctifies such good works with his mysterious sentence, “Whatsoever ye have done unto the least of these my brethren; ye have done unto me.” (Mt. 25:35 ff)
Yes, what we see in St. Matthew’s gospel is Jesus conducting any number of Holy Communion Services with the people of his day. But, someone might object that: the Sacrament had not yet been instituted at that time.
Ah, but it had because Jesus himself is the Sacrament, and the Sacrament is Jesus.
The people we hear of in today’s gospel were communing with the flesh and blood of Christ as surely as we do “under the forms of bread and wine” today …
Jesus was the celebrant, the host, the meal, the victim and the priest then and he still is today, at the altar of Christ Lutheran Church in Cleveland, OH.
And so as we hear St. Matthew’s gospel we should not only take note of the of the Lord’s teachings, but also of the times and places that St. Matthew notes for us; each being an actual Service of Worship.
A Liturgy that leads to the Greatest Liturgy of all: when God’s Lamb offered himself on the cross as the sacrifice that expunges the sin of the world. By which he rendered us good soil that brings forth “a harvest of righteousness …” (James 3:18) Amen.