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Sailboats

January 30, 2022 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
January 30, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Epiphany 4
The Sailboat

Then the LORD reached out with his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, "Behold! I am putting my words in your mouth. Jeremiah 1:9

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The Holy Christian Religion could be compared to a magnificent sailboat glimmering across the water, powered by the wind of the Holy Spirit!

When people see a sailboat they first focus on the sails themselves, then on the craft that they power. But rarely does anyone think about the ballast: that great weight at the bottom of the boat that keeps it from certain disaster.

Thanks to the sails, and sleek shape, a sailboat can turn on a dime without falling over. It might tilt so far that your stomach goes to your throat, but it always rights itself because the ballast is at its base.

The religion of Christ, expressed by its art, music, architecture, and glorious liturgies, is possessed of the most stunning of all sails. It is beautiful in every way: in its doctrine, its thought, its practice and above all by the selfless love it teaches us, and empowers us to express to all men.

The hull of the craft, likewise, is decked with rich furnishings so that anyone who sails in the good ship Church knows that he is not in a moss covered, leaky rowboat, but in the proudest and most handsome of all the vessels of the sea!

But all those luxuries would find themselves at the bottom of the sea without a ballast; and our ballast is the Divine Word spoken from God to men, and by men to the world at large.

Jeremiah was such a speaker of divine words. And if we want to know what God thinks; if we want to know his will, and what the future holds then we need to hear his prophets: for these are the men that God calls, sanctifies and ordains to receive his Word, and to impart it to the world.

Such ordination also comes with God’s promise that we should never be afraid to speak the Divine Word in its entirety! That includes the parts that we don’t want to hear, because they convict us of our sins, and make us feel afraid, guilty and ashamed.

And human pride cannot abide that!!

Nonetheless the LORD God commands Jeremiah to speak, and to tear down, and uproot all that proceeds from the sinful mind of man; and then having cleared out all evil, God’s by his Word builds a New Creation: and that is the Day humanity awaits.

But not only awaits, unfortunately, but also tries to create sailing under its own steam, instead of having the Wind of God in our sails, and the ballast of the Divine Word to prevent shipwreck after shipwreck.

Next we have our Lord Jesus Christ, the New Jeremiah, who did not only preach the Divine Word with irresistible power and authority: but who IS God’s Word made flesh – who still dwells among us full of grace and truth; so that we will never run dry of these priceless commodities.

By his cross and resurrection the demons can no longer possess us. He expels them with a Word, and we can do the same! And Oh how badly exorcism is needed today: with men possessed, as they are, by so many unclean spirits – as they party and revel in orgies, and every possible perversion.

And so let all who are besotted come to Jesus to be cleansed.

Come to his prophet to confess your sins, receive absolution, have your demons expelled, and obtain the strength to carry on with a “pure heart” for Jesus says, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”

Come to the Lord’s altar which is cleaner than any clean room that human ingenuity can build! There you will find healing for every illness and liberation from every demon. Because these demons know who Jesus is and they fear him.

They know that he is the Son of God, and have known it since before the foundation of the world. And they know, too, why he has come: namely to destroy them by the cross.

St. Paul also preaches the same Divine Word so that we might keep our balance. Today he teaches us what true love is. And O how we need to learn that because culture has perfectly redefined love to mean:

people sticking their nose into everybody else’s business in the name of helping, or saving them. But they always make things worse.

According to the world’s catechism love also means to rejoice over every twisted impulse of mankind; and to celebrate diversity: by which they mean to eliminate Christ and his influence on the world. But love rejoices only in the truth.

Then there is the most poisonous love of all, “government love.” The love that:

*closed down the world 2 years ago;

*unjustly imprisoned people in their homes;

*rudely dictated public behavior;

*turned every person into an informer;

*divided society into a game of “shirts and skins;”

*took the edge off people’s work skills

*debased our money and left us to pay the bill.

That is government love!

But the Divine Word we hear today from St. Paul serves as a counterweight against all that is beyond irrational, teaches us the truth, and gives us stability through all the changing scenes of life: even when the just must suffer with the unjust.

Like the prophets, like the Lord and like his Apostles, the church also speaks the Divine Word today.

She is doing it now.

For what is Divine Service other than God’s Word, spoken aloud by the church, by which we learn to speak in the tongues of angels. But as we do so, let us hear Paul’s warning as well:

“If I speak in the languages of men, and of angels but have not love: I am a noisy gong, or a clashing cymbal.”

And so these three remain: faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love. Amen.