Sermon: August 13, 2017 – Construction Projects

Construction Projects

Texts: Job 10: 10-12, Hebrews 11: 1

Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
12 You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.

1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

If you have been around here for the last couple of weeks you may have noticed that I have not been. Around here, that is. Heidi and I have been in Denver for the last couple of weeks for a couple of different reasons. On the surface they may not seem to be related at all, but as I reflected on the experience, it offered me the opportunity to make some observations that I’m not certain we often think about. So let me explain.

The first reason we were in Denver was the anticipated birth of our 3rd granddaughter, who was born on July 30th.  We had been in town just about 24 hrs when we received the news that the trip to the hospital had taken place and later that day Amber Lillian arrived. We swung by the hospital for a brief visit of the family and found everyone to be in good health and great spirits; and of course we had the chance to hold Amber when she was about 2 hours old. There just isn’t another experience that mirrors the miracle of a newborn baby.

But there was a second reason we were in Denver. Our youngest son Zac, and his wife Sara were in need of a bathroom remodel. Not just a light cosmetic brushing up, but they really needed a serious overhaul. So serious that I rented a U-Haul trailer to carry all the tools I would need to complete the project.

What I found so interesting is that as the bathroom remodel project went on during the day, I found myself thinking about how differently we as humans approach the creation process; much different, for example, than God approaches the creation process. Let me see if I can make this a little more clear for you.

Long before I even arrived with my tools, I had been in touch with Zac and Sara about the planning process for their new bathroom. We had measurements and drawings, we had diagrams and sketches, we had pictures of new fixtures and specifications about how big the new fixtures were so we could make sure they would fit in the new space. In other words tons of planning took place on this bathroom project before anything else happened. Of course if you have ever seen the blueprints for a house or a commercial building, you know what I’m talking about. Everything needs to be thought of in advance and you need to have a plan to follow, and we did have a plan and we followed it pretty closely.

But I have a question. Where are the blueprints for a newborn? This little human body is so much more complex than a bathroom remodel, and yet it seems to just happen without any plans. All the organs are in the right spot, the little nervous system is functioning as is everything else. This simply cannot happen by random accident, there absolutely must be a plan. But where is it and how is it followed? I guess the obvious answer is DNA, but that only satisfies my curiosity a little bit.

The next thing that had to happen for the bathroom remodel to take place is all the old stuff needed to be removed and where necessary, we also needed to remove the sheetrock. You see, if you are going to make changes in wiring or plumbing which are both found inside the walls, you need access to the inside of those walls. This means the sheetrock has to be removed, leaving you only with the studs or floor joists or other framing members to work with as you make the changes. As it turns out, we were making some changes to both the plumbing and the electrical, so in this smallish bathroom, most of the sheetrock had to go. What a mess! But that’s a different story.

This got me thinking again about Amber and this little human body that appears to be functioning, yet changing constantly. When you can’t see the inside workings of everything that lies beneath the skin, how do you know what is going on? I read that a baby’s skin is so well developed that fingerprints form sometime during the second trimester. So after just 4 or 5 months, the baby is totally enclosed in skin, and yet development and construction still takes place. That is a little like building a wall, covering it with sheetrock and then finishing the electrical and plumbing through the sheetrock. So how does that work?

Now I have a confession to make. Plumbing is not my favorite thing. As a matter of fact, I’m not even very good at it. Often in a project, if I have trouble with anything, it will be plumbing. From a certain perspective plumbing is my nemesis.

So, if I hate plumbing so much, why would I choose to remodel a bathroom? That’s a good question, but they say to face your fears, right? Let’s just say that at times I struggle a bit with getting all the plumbing to work exactly as it is supposed to. It is not as easy as it looks. There are drain pipes and water pipes and fittings and elbows and fall and all sorts of things that create a bit of a nightmare. In the big picture, this plumbing was not all that complex. We had to run two new drains and add some water in a new location for the washing machine. Not a big deal, really. But it was still a bit of a challenge.

In spite of all the challenges and yes, even the plumbing, the bathroom remodel project was a great success.

But have you ever really thought about the plumbing of a newborn? I mean not only is it overwhelmingly complex, it is tiny to boot! When I was holding Amber for the first time in the hospital when she was just 2 hours old, I noticed that the distance from her wrist to her elbow was about the length of my little finger. Think about that. Consider all the blood plumbing, both blue and red, kind of like hot and cold water, but more complicated. Think about all the other plumbing, the HVAC system that transports oxygen to the blood and somehow learns in seconds how to breathe air. Then there is the obvious plumbing system that requires diapers, but even that is very complex.

I could go on but I think you are beginning to get the picture. While I’m working on one construction project it is constantly reminding me of the absolute miracle of a different kind of construction project.

The text I read from Job this morning says that God has knit us together with bones and sinew. Even with all our modern understanding and medical science, I’m not sure there is a better description of what takes place. It is a miracle.

The other text from Hebrews talks about faith. Convictions of things not seen? You bet. If you ever feel your faith start to dwindle, find a newborn and hold them for a time. Your faith with be restored.

But that isn’t the end of the story. You see we were all newborns at some time in our past. Everything I have said today about Amber, is also true of you. Each and every one of us are remarkably and wondrously made. Not a day goes by that your body is not growing, changing, replacing skin, producing new cells and it all seems to happen without a blueprint or a plan. Your body just knows what to do.

Take a deep breath. Feel your body work. Think about how that air was processed. And thank God that the Divine Spirit has breathed into us the very breath of life.

Amen.

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