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
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
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
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
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
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!?