On faith: The blacksmith’s tools
Pastor Henry Noordzy
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Castle Danger
My wife Nancy and I spent two weeks in the state of Virginia, attending a surprise birthday party for my sister-in-law. It was more than a surprise for Kitty, as neither my brother nor Kitty knew we were coming. The visit was important for many reasons, not only because of my brother’s near-death health scare last summer, nor because of the birthday party, but because it is always very important to keep in personal touch with family.
As we visited with family about a variety of things, there were times to reminisce. Things and events that happened 50, 60 and yes, even 70 years ago, were recalled with joy and sadness. One of the main topics of conversation was our families and how fortunate we have been to have such a close, loving, caring group of kids who make up the Noordzy family.
One cannot help but get a bit sentimental when such conversations arise. We also talked about our respective congregations and how each one is different, yet share many similarities. But one thing was common throughout our conversations and that was how each congregation served its people and the community.
We, of the Two Harbors community, are made up of many different congregations. Some similar, others quite different. But we all basically have the same mission, if you will, and that is to serve God and the people of our community. Our congregations do not stand separate from one another, in spite of our differences in nationality, our methods of worship or our fundamental beliefs.
We are called to first obey the great commandment to love God with our total being and secondly, to love one another as God has loved us. We love one another not because we see eye to eye, but because we love as God loves us.
We each have our own local benevolences, our personal agencies that we give to and work with. But we also have our local agencies, such as Neighbor-to-Neighbor, Ecumen Scenic Shores, the hospital auxiliary, and so on. We have the opportunity to step out of our local congregations, to maybe leave our comfort zones in order to help those in need.
A couple of months ago I shared with my fellow clergy, a part of Max Lucado’s book “On the Anvil.” Lucado writes:
“In the shop of a blacksmith, there are three types of tools. There are tools on the junk pile: outdated, broken, dull, rusty. They sit in the cobwebbed corner, useless to their master, oblivious to their calling. There are tools on the anvil: melted down, molten hot, moldable, changeable. They lie on the anvil, being shaped by their master, accepting their calling. There are tools of usefulness: sharpened, primed, defined, mobile. They are ready in the blacksmith’s tool chest, available to their master, fulfilling their calling.” Lucado continues:
“Some people lie useless: lives broken, talents wasting, fires quenched, dreams dashed. They are tossed in with the scrap iron, in desperate need of repair, with no notion of purpose. Others lie on the anvil: hearts open, hungry to change, wounds healing, visions clearing. They welcome the painful pounding of the blacksmith’s hammer, longing to be rebuilt, begging to be called. Others lie in their Master’s hands: well- tuned, uncompromising, polished, productive. They respond to their Master’s forearm, demanding nothing, surrendering all.”
Our call is to respond to God’s call, to serve as God’s chosen tools.