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Summary: You are a valuable treasure to God. God finds great treasures in the common "folk." This sermon uses both biblical and secular illustrations.

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2 Corinthians 4:7 -- “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”

l. INTRODUCTION -- THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO

On May 27, 1992, in Sarajevo, one of the few bakeries that still had a supply of flour was making and distributing bread to the starving, war-shattered people. At 4 P.M. a long line stretched into the street. Suddenly, a mortar shell fell directly into the middle of the line, killing 22 people and splattering flesh, blood, bone, and rubble.

Not far away lived a 35-year-old musician named Vedran Smailovic. Before the war he had been a cellist with the Sarajevo Opera, a distinguished career to which he patiently longed to return. But when he saw the carnage from the massacre outside his window, he was pushed past his capacity to absorb and endure any more. Anguished, he resolved to do the thing that he did best: make music. Public music, daring music, music on a battlefield.

For each of the next 22 days, at 4 P.M., Vedran put on his full, formal concert attire, took up his cello and walked out of his apartment into the midst of the battle raging around him. Placing a plastic chair beside the crater that the shell had made, he played in memory of the dead Albinoni’s Adagio in G minor, one of the most mournful and haunting pieces in the classical collection of the ages. He played to the abandoned streets, smashed trucks and burning buildings, and to the terrified people who hid in the cellars while the bombs dropped and bombs flew. With masonry exploding around him, he made his unimaginably courageous stand for human dignity, for those lost to war, for civilization, for compassion and for peace. Though the shellings went on, he was never hurt.

After newspapers picked up the story of this extraordinary man, an English composer, David Wilde, was so moved that he, too, decided to make music. He wrote a composition for unaccompanied cello, “The Cellist of Sarajevo,” into which he poured his own feelings of outrage, love, and brotherhood with Vedran Smailovic.

When the piece of music was played at the opening night of the International Cello Festival in Manchester, England, it was then that the power of the actions of Vedran were really crowned. A world renowned master cellist played the piece on that opening night. The music began, stealing out into the hushed hall and creating a shadowy, empty universe, ominous, and haunting. Slowly it grew into an agonized, slashing furor, gripping the audience before finally subsiding at last into a hollow death rattle, and finally, back to silence.

When the master cellist finished, he remained bent over his cello, his bow resting on it=s strings. No one in the hall moved or made a sound for a long time. It was as though the audience had just witnessed the terrible bombing that occurred that fateful day in 1992.

Finally, the cellist looked out across the audience and stretched out his hand, beckoning someone to come to the stage. An indescribable electric shock swept over the audience as it realized who it was: Vedran Smailovic, the cellist of Sarajevo!


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