Malankara World

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Hoodosh Eetho - Dedication/Renewal of Church - Sermon / Homily on St. Luke 19:47-20:8

What Is Church?

by Rev. Kee Young Yang

A man from the big city was enjoying a relaxing drive in the country when a dog ran in front of his car. He swerved to miss it but lost control of his car and ended up in a ditch. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get his car out, the man sat on his bumper and waited for help to arrive. He didn’t have to wait long. A farmer who lived just down the road came to his aid with a big, powerful-looking horse.

The man watched as the farmer hitched the horse to the car’s bumper. When the rope was secure, the farmer yelled,

“Pull, Nellie, pull!” But the horse didn’t move.
Then the farmer yelled, “Pull, Buster, pull!” But the horse didn’t move.
Next the farmer yelled, “Pull, Coco, pull!” But the horse still didn’t move.
Finally, the farmer said, “Pull, Buddy, pull!”

And the horse dragged the car from the ditch with very little effort.

The driver was appreciative-and a little curious.

“Why did you call out four names when your horse only responded to one?” he asked.

The farmer smiled and explained, “Oh, Buddy is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling he wouldn’t even try!”

Just like Buddy, we need other people to bring out the best in us. That’s why God created us to be part of a community, part of a family, part of the church.

As we look at the scripture, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” So, our Lord Jesus Christ says today that he would be with us.

If then, who are we?

We are church. What is church? Church is not a building. In Greek, church is ekklesia, the whole body of faithful people. In other words, we are the body of Christ.

The Apostle Paul said in the book of Ephesians 4:11-12, “Christ personally gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.”

So we are the body of Christ and we are the Church.

We, as church, love God, love others and serve our neighbors in our journey together. We, as church, love and support each other and one another. We pray for others and we understand, forgive, and love others because we are the church.

Jesus said that He would be with church.

Why do you think Jesus said that He would be with church?

It’s because church carries out God’s will and God’s mission. That is their responsibility.

So that the verse 18 means this.

“You as church bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you as church loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” because church prays and takes actions for God’s Kingdom work.

That is what our church will continue to do.

Have you ever heard a flock of geese flying high overhead?

They are making all kinds of noise. They are honking at each other as they fly. I know that on the highway, the only honking you hear from behind is someone wanting you to speed up or get out of the way.

However, why do geese honk as they fly?

The researchers tell us that geese honk from behind is to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

These geese are trying to encourage one another as they are on their long journey south. We, as Church, should do the same thing.

We are on a long journey with Jesus and we need encouragement along the way.

I used to live in North Jersey, Woodland Park a while ago. In that town, there were a lot of geese. We could easily see many family geese, a baby goose, a mother goose, a father goose and a grand father and grand mother geese together. Especially when we go to the park in the mountainside, we could see a paradise for those geese.

When I have watched the geese, I have noticed that the geese seem to be able to do something that we in the Church should want to do.

In the end of the summer, around this season, their flocks seem to get larger. I think those geese do this by reproduction, but they also must invite other geese to come join them. I do not think that geese have a newspaper or radio or email or twitter or texting to communicate with one another, but as you know, their flocks get larger and larger as the summer goes on.

I kind of remember a magazine article that tells us a few things that scientists have learned about geese regarding why they do what they do.

Before winter comes, the geese get together to head south for the winter.

We may sometimes see a group of geese heading out in all directions as they try to head south.

The geese get together because together, the journey is easier.

When you see geese heading south for the winter flying along in a “V” formation, you might be interested in knowing that science has discovered why they fly that way. The scientists, the research team, have revealed that as each bird flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately behind it. By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds at least 71 % greater, flying range, than if each bird flew on its own.

In other words, the last bird in the V formation can fly 30% easier than the first one.

What we can learn from the flock of geese is to support and encourage each other and one another on our spiritual journey.

My loving sisters and brothers,

We are the church. In other words, church is community of faith and love in Christ. So we call us family. We are a family.

Our Church is a family in faith and love.

We, as the family, love and support each other and one another. And we will continue to journey together and also we will carry out God’s mission and God’s Kingdome work together.

We will have a long journey together. Recently we painted the outside of the church building. I was told that the paint will last long - for 25 years. We all need to gear up for the 25-year journey. Now is time to get together and bind together for our long journey.

In Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

It is my prayer and hope that we all fly together as one body of Christ. No one will be left behind us because we are family. Amen. 

See Also:

Sermons and Bible Commentaries for the Hoodosh Eatho Sunday

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