By Patricia Kirkner
April 20, 2008
Read 1 Peter 2:10
Good Morning. Today we heard in the 2nd reading from 1st Peter, these words: “…let yourself be built into a spiritual house.” When I first read those words about building a house, I remembered one of my childhood stories; The Three Little Pigs. How many of you are familiar with that story? What do you remember? (pause) The story starts with the pigs being old enough to set out on their own. We don’t know much about how prepared they were; did they have 12 years of school or any college? The last words of advise their mother gave them was to Beware of the big, bad wolf. As they traveled down the road, they saw a man carrying straw, so the 1st pig says he’ll build his house with the straw and so he does. The other two pigs say goodbye and proceed on their way. Then they come upon a man carrying sticks and pig #2 says, these will do, and builds his house of sticks. So the last pig says goodbye and heads out on his own. He meets a man carrying bricks; ask for some; and builds his house of bricks. Now all while the last pig was building his house of bricks, the big, bad wolf was visiting the other two pigs, saying his famous words – ‘I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down. And what happened to those houses and those pigs? That’s right, he blew them down and ate them up.
Now, back to that verse that was read this morning, “…let yourself be built into a spiritual house.” What are some of the differences between the pigs building their houses and a call to being a spiritual house? Well lets see; the pigs acted independently; individually. They saw the straw or the sticks and decided they were OK for house building. Then the others went on their way, leaving their brother to be on their own. They acted on their own instincts and knowledge and paid the consequences. But in “let yourself be built into a spiritual house”, we are actually asking and allowing others into our lives; to influence our growth. In the reading, Peter is suggesting that we be open to being led; that we be moldable and bend-able; open to the words of Jesus and the power of the holy spirit and the love of God our Father. If we let ourselves be built into a spiritual house we are understanding that even though we are individuals, we are also a community. Depended on each other and connected. Always connected.
Let me demonstrate. Here’s a sheet I made to look like the sky. I’m going to push my fingers through to represent the individual portions of the sky, like the north star, or the moon, or the big dipper, or Venus, or the milky way. You can look up at the night sky and see lots of stars or you can pick out certain stars and planets. Or how about this sheet I made of the earth? It’s a map of the world and my fingers are the continents. See there is Asia, Europe, Africa, South American, and North America. Each continent has separate beliefs, governments, and weather yet together they make up the world. And here’s a sheet of Pennsylvania, with separate cities, boroughs, or towns. Each has its own traditions, laws, police, etc. but all add up to being a state. Now let’s bring it even closer to home. Here’s a sheet showing the family of Trinity. These fingers and happy faces could be Caroline & Shane who shared the readings with us today; or Pam, Jim, and John who did great work in the church yard; or Pastor Sherry; or the Carey’s who donated the flowers this morning; or Abrielle who will be baptized this morning. All are individuals doing their thing, separate from each other; working under their own power. Could be just like the pigs, BUT, there’s another side of this story. Another angle to our being here…an inescapable FACT. (turn sheets around so children can see the rest of the hand) What do you see back here? Yes, all the fingers are united; connected. Think about it. Whether we thing of ourselves as individual members of Trinity; or live in Pennsylvania; or the US; or the universe, we are one with God, united in the Love of Jesus. Never alone. We have the companionship, the support, the encouragement, and the fellowship of this church and our faith, and the words of Jesus, when he said in the Gospel this morning: I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.
That is how you can let yourself be built into a spiritual house. By being who you are but always remembering that we are connected; and that connectedness builds us up so that we can reach out to others and do the works that Jesus did, and spread the love that Jesus gives.
This is a great week ahead of us for demonstrating Jesus’ works. There is Earth Day when we can celebrate and practice ways to take care of the earth that God created. There is Election Day when our parents can vote and pray for the future of the U.S. And there are these special ‘trees’ at Trinity that offer us the opportunity to reach out to the community of Coatesville. All because we are and always will be connected. So that big, bad wolf can come and he can huff and puff all he wants, but our house won’t be blown down. Why? Because our brick house is held together with God’s love. Amen.
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