Der Samuel's April 16th, 2023 Sermon
Recently, we all hear about those forests that are burning because of a sudden spark. Interestingly, James, talking about the tongue, compares it to fire two thousand years ago and gives the same example: "You know that a small spark can set a huge forest on fire. The tongue is also a fire" (James. 3:5-6). The tongue is among the fears of many people. People are afraid of language. Naturally, not from the physical tongue, but from the words that came out through the tongue. It is interesting that all of us bless in the same tongue, and say good words, and at the same time we curse, gossip, and say bad words. As we read in the letter, "With it, we will bless our Lord and Father God, and again with it we will curse people who are created in the likeness of God" (James. 3:8-9). Every reason has its own motive, and it is our soul, our heart that leads our tongue to sin. Temptation, and therefore a spiritual compromise, often find their easiest access route to the heart via the eyes. By the same token, sin may find its easiest exit route from our hearts via the mouth. The exhortation of Proverbs to “keep your heart with all vigilance” is immediately followed by an exhortation to “put away from your crooked speech and put devious talk far from you” (Proverbs 4.23-24).
In the Gospel of Matthew, we read the following about the corruption of our hearts: "Did you not understand that whatever enters into a man's mouth goes into his stomach and then comes out?" Meanwhile, whatever comes out of a man's mouth comes out of his heart, and that defiles a man" (Mt. 15:16-18).
But today I would like to talk about the good sides of the tongue. I believe that in life in general, how you think is the result of that thought that you reap, because if we are pessimistic, we will see and live our lives with all pessimism, and naturally, even when we see good things, we will see with pessimism. But if we are optimistic and live our lives with optimism, I’m sure that we will see so many good things. Just as we use medicines to heal our illnesses, we also need spiritual medicines to heal our souls and cleanse our tongues. And the first step is.
1. Taking the Holy Communion (Հաղորդութիւն)
It is true that every Sunday we celebrate Badarak remembering the last supper of our Lord, but at the same time, we know that the body and blood of the Lord forgive our sins and therefore our souls are cleansed of all sins.
2. To spend time with God
Usually in our life, when we spend too much time working, for sure after we come home, we will continue to think about work, because our minds are there. The same thing is with the spiritual part. If we don’t spend time thinking about God, reading the bible, and finding out what He is saying, we can not spend time with God, we can not be closer to God.
3. Try to speak only good things
I have a question for all of us. Is it difficult to say good words to people and make them happy? Is it so hard to speak and say good words? I’m sure it’s not. No matter how they speak with us, St. Paul in his letter to the Romans says the following “Do not be overcome by evil but overcome evil with good” Let's not forget that during baptism our mouth was sealed with Holy Myron saying, "May this seal in the name of Jesus Christ guard your mouth and be a strong door for your lips".
The challenge that James is making to all his readers, including those of us in the 21st century, should cause each of us to question the words we speak, the attitude behind what we say, and the motive that directs our speech. We should consider the serious effect that unguarded words can have on those around us and remember that pleasant words, encouraging speech, gracious remarks, and even corrective comments that are spoken in love, are like a honeycomb to the tongue.
I would like to end my sermon with a prayer which is taken from Nerses Shnorhali’s in faith I confess prayer. Jesus, the wisdom of the Father, grant us wisdom that we may always think speak and do that which is good in your sight; save us from evil thoughts, words, and deeds. Have mercy upon your creatures and upon us, Amen.