Reformation – Build, rebuild, repeat – Sermon for October 27, 2013

Save big Money at. _____________ Menards,

More saving, more doing that’s the power of ____________Home Depot,

Get in, get out, get done — get your weekend back.  __________ Ace Hardware



I think there’s two kinds of people. The first who enter a store like Home Depot or Menards and feel energized, like they can tackle any challenge. I bet King Solomon would have been that kind of guy.  While, he didn’t build the temple all by himself, he is credited as the one who got it done.   So there’s that kind of person–you know the handy ones, who like to tinker, fix, and build things–the ones who look at a building a home and eagerly say what project, what improvement, what next,–repair or build with just the right tool, just the right stuff.


And then there’s the rest of us, Who when thinking about a home improvement or repair, just get the willies, and pray that nothing breaks, that nothing will need fixing. Bbecause when we walk through those doors of those big or little hardware stores, those palaces to home improvement we automatically  feel lost and overwhelmed, unsure of where to turn, where to go, what the name of the do hickey it was they came in there for to begin with.


Faith, life, being the church isn’t it all about confidence at knowing we got the right stuff, the right tools to tackle whatever life throws at us.  Because no matter who we are life is going to give us plenty of trials and tribulations. 


Martin Luther, now I don’t know how handy he was with the hammer, nails, and saw, but Martin Luther was one of the men who led this Reformation, this tearing down, tearing away at the abuses of the church to repaired and rebuilt God’s church.


However, and I feel we can not say it too many times, this room this building, is just another building.  It is not the church.  In a sense, we can call it God’s house, like the temple that we read about that King Solomon built thousands of years ago.  But you want that it’s not around anymore. a temple that no longer stands, even in Jerusalem there is disagreement about where it once stood.  These walls, these beautiful stained glass windows, these pews (you know the churchy name for the benches you sit on) while they feel so solid and permanent are not the church.  As any good handyman, property guy like Bob, or others know, they will slowly ever so slowly fall apart, they will be replaced or hopefully reused or recycled. That is really and truly what happens with these temples, these houses of worship we build.  It doesn’t mean they are not important.  No, they like any good tool, serve a purpose.


for King Solomon and the people thousands of years ago it gave them a central place to be able to come and pray, to bring their offerings, a place for the people to gather in times of joy and in times of terror and pain.  That is what made it holy, that is what makes this place holy, because we use it to gather together. In our disconnected world have a sense of connection to God and one another; in our violent world, where schools and streets have become shooting galleries we come together here to feel a sense of safety in this sanctuary with God’s people.  That is what makes this God’s house, that is what makes it holy.  But it is not the church.  As a hymn, a song we sing tells us, the church will stand even when all steeples have crumbled.  Because the believers, the faithful, the family of God, we have lots of names, but the one true name for you and me is the church.


And you know what, we are being built, torn down, repaired, and rebuilt all the time.  Sometimes it’s the events of life, the challenges and the tragedies, sometimes it’s our joys, but most importantly it happens when we come here together.  You see, just like in the days of the Reformation. Over 500 years ago, we need to have our faith repaired.  As many of us know, the church seems to be disintegrating.  Fewer and fewer people find any meaning within these walls, fewer and fewer people know Jesus, know who he was and is, experience feel his love and forgiveness, that amazing grace of God.


The answer is not to just pull out some old blueprints for how we did things years ago, because the world has changed–I’m not saying we tear everything down, and build a Jesus shopping center.  What we need is to rebuild our passion for Jesus, and our passion for one another.  Sure there’s lots of things we could do gives us all sorts of tools, we could have the best organ in the world, an elevator, a Greet parking, lot, could move out of this neighborhood, a great web page and Facebook, a blog, or an app, all that is built on a weak foundation of just survival.  We need a real cornerstone, we need something so solid that it will not bend, or break, or rust, it can not be stolen, and that  it is Jesus radical life changing love.  Love that compels us to share it wherever and with whomever we have a relationship.


That’s at the heart of the Reformation; that is what makes us Lutheran Christians, not the songs we sing, not the language we speak, but the gospel, the good news that Jesus is Lord, and Jesus gives us freely the love, the forgiveness of God.  If that good news could repair the church, change the whole church in Europe, for hundreds of years, it can repair us, and build us up, it can build us into a church that can overcome evil, we can be the church in an age of indifference, and violence, we can be the church in society of haves and have nots, the church in a world of pain, looking for pleasure, we can be people of peace.  Through prayer, through listening to God, though following Jesus, reading and studying the bible together, though worshipping together, coming together to set this time and space apart we declare it! we are declared holy, God gives us all so many tools, so together let us build the church.  Amen

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