Public Defender

Mark 4:35-41

I titled today's sermon, PUBLIC DEFENDER. When we hear that title or think of what that means we usually think of someone who helps those who are not able to afford an attorney. The person helps those without question. That is, no matter what the crime they are accused of, it is the Public Defender's duty to see that the person gets the best defense possible and a fair trial.

A Public Defender has to sort through a myriad of facts and probably rumors and untruths, and also has to put up a strong defense because the Prosecutor is out to convict the person whom the Public Defender has to defend. Very often the Public Defender is threatened; especially when he or she is defending someone who is has committed a heinous crime. It is the Public Defender's duty to still give that person the best defense and they are often seen as trying to thwart justice.

Jesus is our Public Defender. We don't even recognize how much guff he takes on our part. Oh, we might not be murderers or child molesters or terrorists, but we give Jesus a lot of work to do.

We are part of a humanity that causes storms to rage. We all contribute to the pollution of our environment. None of us is innocent. If we drive a car, or use a car (that is accept a ride in it, or some other form of gasoline or diesel vehicle) we are part of the problem of polluting.

We contribute to the "storm" of crime as well. Crime is born of our negative attitudes, negative approaches to life. Crime is born of thoughts of revenge, thoughts of hate, thoughts of fear. There isn't one of us that doesn't fall into one, or maybe all, of those categories.

Many people choose not to believe in Global warming. Whether you believe the facts or not, when you see actual video footage of what is happening in our Arctic, you can't deny the changes because they are not slight, they are enormous. But there are always 'nay-sayers.' In Al Gore's recent film, "An Inconvenient Truth" there are some who say that the incredible scenes of changes in our earth are just more 'Hollywood effects," that they are fake and not real.

So, by all that we do, and driving cars is just one simple example, we are causing the earth's atmosphere to change, and along with that comes more severe weather.

Storms rage around us. Storms rage around us in so many ways. We are bombarded by new strains of deadly viruses, new types of crime, new types of diseases, and diseases that have been around for a long while for which we have not yet found cures.

Jesus has to defend us. Satan is ever after us, trying to lure us to things that are geared to tempt us to turn away from Jesus. He has lots of tricks. It only takes a moment to turn our heads. Jesus has to defend us from our own silliness, our own foibles, our own faults and weaknesses.

Jesus is our Public Defender. He has to defend us no matter what we do or how little we appreciate it. He is threatened constantly. Oh, not by Satan-Jesus is more powerful than Satan. Jesus' task is to save our souls. That's why he came to live among us as a human being in the first place. To help us learn to cope; to help us learn how to keep from being oppressed or depressed; how to keep the faith; how to spread hope and not despair.

We are the biggest threat to Jesus because he weeps over every soul that turns away from him to the temporary glamour of the world. We seem to always be looking for the quick fix. Anything to not feel the pain of matters we won't deal with. Anything to make us feel good in the face things that would make us feel bad.

And Jesus defends us. He knows we are guilty of so many things. We are part of a fallen humanity. We are a people on this earth. We may want to think that we are not connected to what happens on the other side of the world, but we are. We may not want to think our negative attitude and thoughts and intentions have an affect on the negative happenings in our world, but our negativity affects what happens in our world.

But, what Jesus constantly tries to show us is that our POSITIVE thoughts have an even GREATER affect.

In our story from the Gospel today, the disciples are fearful and wake Jesus and say "Don't you care that we are perishing?" And all Jesus does is speak a powerful word to the wind. He doesn't say it meekly; it's more like 'SHUT UP!" in the Greek. But it is a positive word. It's not born out of fear. And we know this because he then says to the disciples, "Why are you afraid? Have you still no belief?" ("faith" and "belief" are the same word in Greek and are used almost interchangeably)

Positive words and thoughts affect the world in a good way. We, with our negative thinking, create fear and create fearful situations. Jesus is trying to get us to believe in the power of God that has been given to us to use. But we put our trust in other things.

We have so many celebrations in our lives, but we so seldom really celebrate God in our lives. Jesus calms one storm after another in our lives and most of the time we don't even recognize it. Jesus fends off one attack after another that the devil sends our way, and we don't even thank God for it. We only thank God for what we can see. And when, through our own carelessness, or the carelessness of the humanity we are part of, something happens to us, we then question God. Why me God? Why is this happening? How about "thank you Jesus for a wakeup call." We have heart attacks and other various problems related to cholesterol etc. and it never has anything to do with the diet we have been following all our life.

My brother died from lung cancer that spread to other parts of his body. So did my father. In the last week of my brother's life when he was in hospice care, one of my cousin's who long admired my brother asked him, "So, Bill, have you got any advice for me for my life?" My brother's immediate response was, "Don't smoke."

Storms rage around us. Some we recognize, some we don't. Jesus is trying to defend us from them all. He has given us so much wisdom in his teachings in the Bible, but we don't care to really read that and know what he said and follow the discipline he suggests.

There will always be challenges in life, just like the storm in our story. There will always be SOMETHING that eventually takes our life, but Jesus is telling us not to be afraid. There are so many storms in life that only need to be spoken to positively with force. Not meekly, but forcefully and positively. But we have to believe what Jesus tells us. We have to believe that we have been given the power to still the storm-not just for ourselves, but for others.

Don't give in to fear. Don't lose hope. Don't be afraid. Just believe. Increase the strength of your faith by believing what Jesus says, not what the world wants you to believe, which is that there is no hope, and fear is rampant.

When storms arise in your life that you are aware of, face them positively and forcefully, not meekly. Peace! Be still! If you feel tempted by Satan to do something you know in your heart you shouldn't do, don't meekly say, help me God. No. Say, like Jesus said, "Get behind me Satan!" Make a positive statement. Be forceful. Don't cower in the face of adversity. Be positive. You have the power of Jesus behind you. You have the Holy Spirit to guide you and strengthen you and support you.

If God is for you, who can be against you? Still the storms. You've got the power of Jesus. Stand up for Jesus. Stand with Jesus. Through all the storms of life you can hear Jesus' voice if you listen. Peace! Be Still! With the positive power in your life how can you keep from singing a song of faith, belief and hope!?


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