“Building Blocks” by Rev. Ricky Jacob, Associate Staff

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. [1 Peter 2:5 NIV]

One of my fondest memories of going to kindergarten, at Grace Lutheran school in Chicago, is of the building blocks. Every chance that we would get we would play with the wooden building blocks. It was fun to create roadways, bridges and towers.

Recently, we received a call from a janitor at the Winnebago Public school. Evidently they had just procured some new wooden building blocks and they wondered if we would like their ‘hand-me downs.’ Connie Wobken, our head teacher, said ‘yes!’ The kids were sure glad she did as these blocks are in great shape and provide our students with hours of creative play.

We have been blessed to observe the creative work that Mauna [Earth Maker] is doing here in northeast Nebraska at Jesus Our Savior Lutheran School. The foundation for this creative building project is none other than our Lord and Savior, Jesus! The vision, some thirteen years or so ago, to meet a need for a preschool for the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska has expanded into a Lutheran elementary school through 2nd grade, now in its second year. This year we have been blessed with a new preschool teacher in Sheryl Tietz, (as Jana Inglehart, after twelve years of faithful service, took a called position for Orphan Grain Train).

This building project of sorts begins from the inside out, (unlike some former attempts of ‘conversion’ from the outside in—attempting to have the various tribes talk like us, dress like us and style their hair like us). How is this done you might wonder? It is using the building blocks that God gave us in His Sacred Word.

In other words, we teach them to say and understand what Mauna demands in the Ten Commandments. They realize that they have missed the mark and need a Savior. We also have them learn of the grace of the Triune God as they say and, prayerfully, profess their faith in the words of the Apostles’ Creed. Then we have them memorize the Lord’s Prayer that they are encouraged to pray every day. These are the building blocks of the Christian faith.

I am amazed of the impact that learning and saying these simple words has on the lives of these young children. Three-year-olds who seem to be focused on something, or anything else, following weeks of chapel services and daily devotions are able to say the words by heart and apparently from the heart. God’s Word does not return to Him void. The Spirit of Mauna works through these means to transform the lives of His chosen people as they, like Peter once wrote, are like living stones and indeed precious in His sight.

I close by quoting the Scripture verse above as well as the verse that precedes it: As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

[1 Peter 2:4 & 5 NIV]

Aho Mauna waza hanach guzra, You indeed are the teacher of all things. We ask your blessings on the teaching and preaching of your Sacred Word that each and every person who would be transformed into one of your precious living stones and blessed to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you through Jesus Christ our Lord.  In Jesus our Savior’s Name we pray. Amen.