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Summary: If God is our patron...

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Concordia Lutheran Church

Pentecost 14, August 29, 2010

Presence Provides Ministry

Hebrews 13:1-17

† IN JESUS NAME †

As you contemplate that God’s grace, that loving mercy and peace that heals you, poured out for you as the blood of Christ, may you grasp His unchanging nature that helps you live and love. AMEN!

Commissioned!

The pressure is on you, as you look at the task you have been given. Not just any task, but one that calls you to risk so much of who you are, to go beyond yourself as a masterpiece will be created that will result in people being in awe.

The task will test your faith, your patience, and your endurance. Setbacks will seem devastating, yet may provide just the right re-focus that will turn the work into a masterpiece. Some may question why you bother, given whom you are, and what you have accomplished, and where you have failed in the past. You will risk everything. Everything you are, and everything you have, to accomplish this, and you may see yourself fail the standard, even if others shout acclamations and adore your work.

What encourages you is that you know others have failed in the past, and their works still testify to genius. Einstein who would fail basic classes, yet his work still is leaves people in awe, before they can work with it. Philosophers like Pascal and Roger Bacon and CS Lewis, musicians Beethoven, Mozart, and scientist-artists like Newton, DaVinci; all had their failures, and yet their work still inspires awe.

In the movie, the Princess Bride, there is a classic line. When questioned about his intelligence, one of the characters asks Wesley the hero, “Have you heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?” Wesley replies, “Yes.” The character replies, “Morons!” Now while I will say that Beethoven, Mozart, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci were not morons, the masterpieces they accomplished are not comparable to the task you have been given, nor will their creations measure up to what Concordia has been challenged with, the commission seen in our reading

The masterpiece of your lives, and of our lives together as a community will inspire awe in generations to come, even though the task seems beyond our combined, completely focused abilities.

Don’t let that concern you… for like the artists of times gone by, we have a patron,… who will insure our success, by taking care of everything that would prevent us from seeing the masterpiece of our lives..

The Work and His Cost…

When a great musical piece is commissioned, or an artist like Mark Jennings is commissioned for painting, there is scope to the work. Mozart’s Requiem was one such commissioning, with the work being done in honor of the sponsor’s wife. Mark may be commissioned to paint a mural, or a painting.

The commissioning of such a masterpiece is seen in our reading from Hebrews this morning. “Let brotherly love continue, do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers”. The interesting thing is that brotherly love, and hospitality are both compound words sharing the same base – the word philos – for love and caring. Philadelphia – the love of brothers, and Philozenos – the love and care of the stranger. There is our commission, of which the Great Commission – to make both disciples, is but a subset.

Such love of brother or stranger would see us visiting those we know in prison. Such love would see us reaching out to those who are mistreated. It would show us valuing both family and marriage and the purity of each, and it would see us love and care for money far less than we love and care for each other, as verses 3-5 tells us

The challenge to the Masterpiece -

If our work, if the masterpiece of our lives, that will leave people in awe is defined by our ability to love our brothers and sisters in Christ, and those who are strangers, the work may seem a bit shaky at times. Heck there are times were it seems to us to be doomed to failure.

Last week, as we talked about the presence of God providing stability, we began to see that we hear such passages as law – the don’t touch, don’t speak, no flash photography types of commands we hear in a museum like the Getty. Reading these words can, if heard as law, become condemning, and we might be convinced that we shall fail. We hear “let brotherly love continue (said harshly)“ we know all too well that it might not need to continue as much as it needs to begin all over again. We remember our failure to love, and that word “continue” brings back times that we did not. Or we hear about being hospitable to those not like us, and we think of the people we passed by who were in need, that we were too busy to help.

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