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The Master Builder

September 8, 2011
Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...

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For we are God’s fellow-workers: ye are God’s husbandry, God’s building.
According to the grace of God which was given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder I laid a foundation; and another buildeth thereon. But let each man take heed how he buildeth thereon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble;
each man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man’s work of what sort it is.
If any man’s work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.
Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, and such are ye.

I am a carpenter, always have been and have no plans to do otherwise. That means I build things. I build houses of wood and nails, you see, that are bound to some day crumble to the ground. Nothing I have ever built is truly permanent, because everything on this earth is destined to pass away.

But there is a building that we can build that shall never pass away, a building with its foundation in heaven, its frame rightly fitted and joined so that it will never fall. I am talking, of course, about the Temple of God. This temple, mind you, is not a temple of stone or of wood, or of any material wrought by the hands of men. Rather this temple is built by the living stones shaped by Gods own hands. The temple of God is Christ’s Church, and the stones that build it are the believers, the true followers of Christ. This building has a great cornerstone, which was once rejected by the builders.

I suppose I can stop speaking in riddles. But I figured if I would do that first, it may help someone to appreciate the deep mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Our work for God’s kingdom is as builders. Some must lay the foundations, spreading God’s word and rooting it firmly into the lives of those that hear it. Others have the task of building up the Church on these foundations.

There are a great many ifs in my immediate future. I do not know what exactly God has in store for me. I don’t know his plans; I don’t know what is going to happen. There are some things that do not make sense to me, and other things that I am very excited about.

If all would go as planned right now, I would be doing in the mountains of Switzerland more or less what I do now at home -building. Of course, the style of building here is unlike anything we have in America (see the picture to the left if you don’t believe me). But with this, there is a great deal of uncertainty. I don’t speak the language, which is a unique dialect of German that in these mountains varies tremendously from one village to the next. I only know one family that lives there. And the list could go on for a while. But I am excited anyway. I have a great opportunity. I can learn new skills, I can learn a new language or two. Most of all, I can restore a connection with the land, the language, and the culture of my ancestors.

But this is all really unimportant. I do not want to go to learn how to build like this. I do not want to go to learn the language, and I do not really even want to go to restore a link to my own heritage. These things are all certainly a plus, but that’s not why I want to do this.

My reason for going is to go as a builder. Not a builder of houses of wood, that will just be something I do on the side. Rather, I hope to go as a builder of the Temple of God.

This place I go is, I believe, the very birthplace of my faith. It was in these mountains that for hundreds of years people clung to their ancient faith. But this faith was, after the time of the Reformation in Bern, attacked and driven from the land. Today, there are only a scattered few left here, and after centuries of persecution they are closed to outsiders.

To put it plainly, my vision, my hope, is to bring my faith back to the land where it came from. I feel a great burden for these people who have so rich a history, yet today have lost the light of faith that once burned so bright among them.It is also worth considering that some day the Anabaptists could return here, as we look ahead to the very real prospect that some day it may be difficult to maintain our beliefs in America.



From → Journey

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