Sermon in a nutshell: “Clean Life is possible!” (Leviticus 15:1-12)
Our liberty was not free! We spilled our blood, sweat, and tears.
Today we celebrate Independence Sunday. Our country won our Independence from England in 1776 (Declaration of Independence), 238 years ago. When we fought for our independence, we shed our blood, our sweat, and our tears. It was not a clean situation everywhere. It was messy. We spilt our bodily liquids to acquire our liberty. Those bodily liquids are sacred ones because they were lives of our ancestors.
Our justice was not free either! We spilled holy liquid again to achieve our equality.
Once we achieved freedom from England, we had to face another conflict. It was about equality. Whether all human beings should be treated as equal looks simple and clear now. But it was not that clear and simple before 1863 (Proclamation of Emancipation), 151 years ago. At that time, African-American citizens were treated as second-class citizens. To correct the situation, so many people shed blood, sweat, and tears, holy liquid.
Life is created and preserved through this holy liquid.
God wants us to spill our bodily liquid to create and save lives. When we need to fight for liberty and justice for all, we are glad to spill our holy liquid, our blood, sweat, and tears. However, there are other types of bodily liquid also: saliva and semen. If God wants us to use our bodily liquid to create and save lives, when we spill them without creating and saving lives, they are wasted and in that sense, “unclean.” Do you still remember that “clean” means “closer to life” and “unclean” means “closer to death”? When those bodily liquids are used to create or save lives, they are “clean” but when they are wasted and do not create or save lives they are “unclean.”
Jesus used saliva to open eyes of a man blind from birth.
In the Gospel of John we read a story of a man born blind. “As he walked along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered, ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that God’s works might be revealed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’ When he had said this, he spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva and spread the mud on the man’s eyes.” (John 9:1-6).
This is the proper way to use saliva. Jesus used his “clean” liquid to save lives. However, other people used saliva to insult others. When the Roman soldiers arrested Jesus and tortured him, “They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head.” (Matthew 27:30) They made their saliva “unclean.”
God punished Onan (Judah’s son) when he wasted his semen.
One type of bodily liquid is semen. As we have to use our blood, sweat, tears, and saliva to save lives, we also have to use semen to create lives. When it is not creating lives, it is “unclean.” The Bible tells us in Genesis 38, when one of Judah’s sons, Onan, intentionally and repeatedly spilled his semen on the ground in order to not have a baby, God put him to death. It was not an accident. It was not just “one mistake.” He repeated the same action intentionally so as to not have a baby. In that way, many possible lives were wasted. That is the opposite way of using the holy liquid to the original design of God. It is supposed to produce life.
Clean life is Life contained within the boundaries.
The Bible passage for today is talking about “unclean” discharges of bodily liquid. Even though it was not intentional it was still “unclean.” Why? Let me explain using the analogy of a river. When a river runs between the banks, it is a life-giving river. Trees grow on the banks and fish swim in there. People can enjoy swimming and kayaking there. However, when the river runs over the bank, it becomes a disaster. It destroys towns and the lives of people. When semen is discharged within the boundary of marriage, it is a life-giving liquid. However, when it runs over the boundaries, the discharge becomes “unclean.”
Remember our ancestors!
Our ancestors shed their blood to achieve independence. Now people shed their neighbor’s blood to get what they want from others. Our ancestors shed their sweat to build up our country. Now people shed their sweat to cheat others. Our ancestors shed their tears to repent their sins. Now people do not shed tears for their sins. Our ancestors discharged their semen to create new lives. Now people discharge their semen to satisfy their desires. Back then, those idol worshippers did that at their fertility ceremonies in pagan worship. That is why the Bible mentions it in this detail. Semen is supposed to be discharged to create lives. Tears should be shed to repent our sins. Sweat should be shed for honest labors. Blood should be shed to save other people.
Clean life is possible only when we use our bodies in proper ways.
On this Independence Sunday, we should declare our dependence on God. When we depend on God, we can be independent from evil forces and cultural influences. When we depend on God, we do not use our body to satisfy our desires. Our body as well as our soul belongs to God. Let us glorify God through our bodies as well as through our minds and souls.
- In what way do you want to make your bedroom “clean”?
- For what have you shed your blood, sweat, and tears?