Sermon - November 20, 2019 - St. Martin's In the Desert

helping hand

Sermon – November 20, 2019

November 20, 2019
Public Healing Service


Animals that travel in herds act as families. If one of them falls behind, they all fall behind to ensure the safety of the individual and the pack. 

If one member falls behind and gets stuck, then the needs of the many to keep moving outweigh the needs of the one.  Sometimes, in times of trouble, there is seemingly nothing that can be done.  That’s what almost happened to this helpless baby elephant when he was abandoned by his herd. 

This elephant herd lived in a Wildlife Sanctuary in Africa. It was a perfect and beautiful day. They had stopped at a pool of water or I suppose a muddy pond. Some to cool off, drink life staining water and some to roll in the mud. Both activities help to mitigate the intense African heat.

The baby started to play and started slipping in to the banks of the pool but he began to sink! The more he tried the more he got stuck and the more noise he made by calling out for help.

The herd, wanted to move on, but they won’t leave the baby elephant behind. A few of the adult elephants attempted to free the elephant by pushing him. No matter how hard they tired they couldn’t free him. With no progress they started calling out to the rest of the herd. With all this power, they still could not free the baby.

Someone else heard this cry for help. It was moving fast toward the herd. Suddenly a Jeep appeared, speeding towards them, this frighten the adults and they surrounded the baby elephant to protect him. 

Two men in the Jeep who were rangers kept circling around the elephants to break up the herd so they could see what was wrong. 

This confrontation went on for what seamed like hours and to top it off, tourists had also come around to see what the commotion was. They had seen the elephants before, so watching in the distance, they decided to stay back.

The younger elephants in the herd took off. This prompted the older elephants to make a decision, do we go with the younger elephants or stay behind to protect this one?

 After what seemed to be hours, they chose to leave and go with the herd.

The two men tried several methods to free the baby elephant and he was getting weaker and weaker; he had become frantic and desperately tried to free himself. They continued to try and help. Then on the verge of giving up, the elephant freed himself. 

In the end, the rangers, had to locate the herd. They had to tie the baby elephant up. He was not happy and lashed out to free himself using his remaining strength.

His fate was in their hands and they knew they needed to save this baby and gain his trust.

After so much time struggling in the African heat they realized the baby was dehydrated.

A ranger grabbed a mini pool and filled it with water. The baby put his trunk in the water and began to drink and bath himself.  

The Herd. Where were they? And who helped them find the herd? The tourists did. They knew where the herd was and told the rangers. 

The rangers lead the baby near enough that he could hear them calling and he went running back to them. 

The herd didn’t go far… they had circled back around.

(Note: on line posting from A baby Elephant Abandoned by its herd was rescued by the most unexpected source.)

I related this story as a Trinity


(Psalm 121:1) I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.

When I read this story, I was extremely touch by the love of the herd for one of their own.

How they refused to leave… this child of theirs.

He didn’t just have one set of parents; he had a herd that loved him and wanted to stay and help.

A family that was risking their own safety to stay behind.

When they finally were forced to leave, they didn’t go far.

And they cried out!

God the Father:

It became apparent to me; we experience the same is in our lives.

For some of us, God had provided us with a sanctuary, a safe place to live.

And for others, that safe place, might only be with their herd or family relying on God’s divine love and protection.

(1 Peter 4;10)

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:

“Water” to the elephants helps them with survival from the African heat, to drink, to cool off, pack their skin with mud to protect them.

Water is crucial to our survival as well.  In scriptures “Living water” In the Old and New testament, is symbolizing a Christian life for survival.

The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water, in which we are baptized in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

(John 4:10)

“if you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water”

The Son:

We have a Father in Heaven that cared for us so much, he sent a savior to save us from ourselves.

Just like the baby elephant, two strangers, in this case rangers, were there to help and save the baby elephant.

God sent a Jesus his only Son, to be with and among us.

(John 1:14)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Elephant knew they were going to have to leave, to save them all. This was a difficult decision for the adult elephants.

Jesus knew he was only here for a short time and that he would have to leave us.

Jesus told us in scriptures that God would send and advocate to be with us to show us the way.

The Holy Spirit

(John 14:16)

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever.

The elephants didn’t go far, as a matter of fact they were still there, they circled around, back to the pool of water.

He struggled to free himself, but wait he hears their cries. He struggles more to the point of exhaustion.

The tourist, the advocate for the Elephants helped the rangers to reunite the baby elephant with his hear, as he heard their cries he ran and was reunited with his family.

God hears our cries when we ask for his help.

(1 John 5:15)

And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

No matter what our struggles are in life, God hears our cries, our prayers and we are given, by the grace of God, family, friends.

And the

 All Mighty God, The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit, to be with us and remain with us always.

Rev. Lola Culbreath