Sundays:  Pastor's Class 9:00 AM (Ephesians)
               Divine Liturgy 10:30 AM

Wednesdays: Pastor's Class 10:00 AM (begins again in September)
               Divine Liturgy 7:00 PM

Private Confession: By appointment.




June 18, 2022 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
June 19, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Pentecost 2

When the herdsmen saw what happened they fled the scene and reported this in city and countryside alike; and the people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons were expelled sitting at Jesus' feet, clothed and in his right mind; and they were filled with fear! And those who had witnessed it reported how the possessed man was healed.

Then the Gerasenes asked him to get away from them, for they were seized with great fear. So he boarded the boat and returned to where he had been. But the man who was now free of the demons pleaded that he might stay with him. But Jesus sent him on his way with this command: Return to your home and tell aloud all that God has done for you, and he went proclaiming throughout the whole city all that Jesus had done for him." Luke 8:34-39

In hearing today’s gospel we are not simply gaining information, but by the miracle of Liturgy we will experience a repeat performance of it. Today Jesus will drive away our demons, as he did those of the afflicted man so many years ago. And there is nothing we need more! Nothing the whole world needs more!

“Green deals” cannot fix what is broken, nor can disarming the populace: which only leaves the innocent open to more demonic assaults.

Such “solutions” as these are nothing more than diversions. Distractions meant to send us into the abyss: and there is nothing worse than that!

If the culture wants to commune on the flesh of swine and wash it down with porcine broth we cannot stop them. We will pray to be sure. We will petition God to reveal the gospel of purity to them; to a people that does not seek it or want it.

Only let us be careful that no Christian give credence, or utterance, to the culture’s tainted doctrines. We cannot reach God or heaven; or gain purity or innocence; or be free from the curse of sin; or find peace in the earth or justice in the world by turning a twisted lip to God. By asking Jesus to leave our shores. By saying to him, “stay far away from me, do not come any closer because I am purified by the green earth.”

No! We can only commune with God by the One who expels our demons, who clothes us in his own righteousness, who restores us to our right minds, and graciously permits us to sit at his beautiful feet where we behold the wounds by which we obtain the glorious liberty of the sons of God.

But even if we reject the cultural narrative and abstain from offering its tainted sacrifices we are still far from righteous; far from sinless; far from the influence of demons – that never stop pressing us to throw off every restraint that the good God places upon us – so that we do not become like the man we encounter in today’s gospel.

Salvador Ramos, who perpetrated the Uvalde TX massacre, this latest Herodian “slaughter of the innocents” was one such demoniac. He was not sick! He was not mentally ill! He was an evil man. A bad man. A sinful man. A rebellious man. A morally deficient man who chose to live his life in league with demons, just like the man we encounter today in today’s gospel.

And so beware of demons!

They are not hard to spot for those trained in the word of righteousness, but beware nonetheless because demons are like a spring, all they can do is push. They might remain compressed for years and years and years and years, but the instant we give them release they launch us into the barren desert where we die the slow death of godlessness.

Demons are like that! And so hear the words of St. Peter, “Be sober be vigilant for your adversary the devil as a roaring lion walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist steadfast in the faith.”

Demons are like that and so hear the Word of the Lord, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”

Demons are like that and so hear St. Paul sermon to the Galatians informing us that in baptism we are clothed with Christ Jesus; dressed in his seamless garment; and no longer dwell apart from him, or outside of him, but inside of him, and he in us. (Jn 17:23)

Demons are like that, they never stop pressing, tempting, driving, justifying our sins for us – and so we do not only need baptism but we need to sit continually at Jesus’ feet like the demoniac did once he was released. Like Mary the sister of Martha did. Like we are doing right now seeking the “one thing that is needful.” And so this assembly is not optional to the Christian, but essential.

Now we know that “idle hands are the devil’s play thing,” and so we must keep busy living a good life; a pure life; a life of service; the baptismal life; as did the man whom Jesus saved that day.

Notice his response! He did not want to leave the Lord’s side EVER! But follow him to the ends of the earth but Jesus would not allow it. But gave him this command instead:

“Return to your home and proclaim aloud all that God has done for you – and he went proclaiming throughout the whole city all that Jesus had done for him.” But let us be clear on what this means.

The Lord’s prescription is not accomplished by engaging in so-called evangelism programs. Nor by playing the religious fanatic who does not know how to change the subject. These things have done more harm to the church, than good.

They have burdened the consciences of God’s people, and made a mockery of the faith in the eyes of the world as surely as the demons did; when they asked to enter the herd of swine and then promptly drove the herd over the cliff into the water below where they all drowned. In so doing they ruined the livelihood of many people; but above all the reputation of Jesus. Christians can do that too, so let your speech be seasoned with salt.

Yes they ruined the Lord’s reputation to such a degree that after the Gerasene people learned what happened; they gingerly asked Jesus to leave the area: to their own profound loss!

But when we hear this command of Jesus: “Return to your home!” we should learn to “pay it forward.” To love one another as Christ loved us, and gave himself for us. To give the same mercy we have received. The same remission we have received. The same love with which we have been loved.

But that said let us also remember today that: charity begins at home. That there is nothing more fragrant than a stable home where Christian love is experienced each day. Not only for the benefit of all who live therein. But for the world at large because those who are loved with divine love, also learn to love those about them with the same wholesome love.

And so let us forget about programs. The ecclesiastical ones because they are non-sense. And the social ones because darkened minds are incapable of producing an enlightened society.

But nothing can stop you from proclaiming to one and all the things that God has done for you in Christ – with words when appropriate, and with charity always. Amen.