In 1954, Leonard W. Sprinkle (along with his son) ventured into Luray Caverns near Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. After a bit of exploring the younger Sprinkle knocked his head on a stalactite rock formation … and a beautiful sound was made. The melody was NOT the thud of head hitting rock, but a musical note, similar to when a hammer hits a string on piano, or a pipe receives wind on an organ. This sound gave Sprinkle an idea. He spent time over the next 3 years mapping out different stalactites throughout the acres of cave complex until he found enough different sized rocks, perfectly shaped to produce ALL the sounds of an organ! Sprinkle (with help from a nearby organ maker) actually made a “StalacPIPE” Organ, that can still be listened to today!
Through a moment of pain, a man found a symphony of music!
A few decades after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension, His Church found itself persecuted and abused by the world in which it lived. This certainly did not surprise them (after all their Lord was crucified by this same world), but the thud of their rejection stung nonetheless. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, one of Jesus’ best friends … a man who had been beaten, flogged, imprisoned (and would eventually be martyred) for his faith in Jesus took up a pen and wrote to a beleaguered and persecuted church to encourage them to keep going. This letter (written by the Apostle Peter) is known to us as the letter of 1 Peter found in the New Testament. Peter writes to this church and lets them know that the pain of banging their head against the stone hearts of this world will hurt, but will also create an opportunity to make a beautiful symphony of God’s grace.
“You have been grieved by various trials (1 Peter 1:6) … serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace (1 Peter 4:10).”
Because we live in a world with many rocks, God has given many gifts of His grace to minister to us as we clamor through this dark cavern … and God has given each of us a role, as stewards of that grace, to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering.
As Edmund Clowney says (comparing Sprinkle’s organ with 1 Peter 4), “If such melodic variety may be found in calcium deposits, what varied tones has God’s Spirit given to the heirs of Christ’s glory?”
This week (as so many week’s have been in 2020) we are reminded again of the stone hearts in this world that work against justice, grace, and mercy. Our hearts grieve as we wonder what God might do about such pain and suffering. Well, His response is to use us to deliver His grace. He has equipped us for this task. All who follow Jesus, will ultimately follow Him into ministry, serving others for His glory, according to His will, and in His strength.
While we may not be able to do something about all the world’s problems, Jesus wants to use YOU to minister to the needs of those right around you in your life today. He has outfitted you for this task. It is your mission … hopefully you will choose to accept it. After all, we were made for this – serving others in Jesus name.
Jesus wants to use you to be a key instrument of His grace in this world.
This Sunday at Wildwood Community Church in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 services (inside and with programming running for children/students/adults and college), 8 AM (outside chapel service), or 10:15 online (wildwoodchurch.org/live) we will be continuing our “5 Follows” series by looking at 1 Peter 4:10-11, as we see how we can follow Jesus into ministry. Hope to see you Sunday … and bring your friends!