Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

16 October 2019

Funeral Sermon: Master Craftsman

Preached on Psalm 139:13–116
The Funeral of Beno Messer
16 October AD 2019

Title: Click to hear the MP3 of Master Craftsman.

Waterfall Fountain Created by Beno Messer for His Wife Hannelore Summary: Craftsmanship means different things to different people but a true master such as Beno Messer leaves ample evidence of his artistic vision and the hard work necessary to bring the vision to completion. Through most of his life, this master craftsman worked in metal and other materials to make products both beautiful and functional.

Whether it was repairing others’ works or designing and constructing his own projects, he refused to cut corners or rush his tasks. He wanted to leave things better than he found them, and he displayed this same attitude in the rest of his life. He invested himself deeply in others and his craftsmanship extended into his family and friends as he always worked to make things better for other and to do better by others.

On an eternal scale, God also shows Himself to be a master craftsman. The psalmist confesses this in the sermon text. But the Lord wasn’t content to create beauty. When Adam and Eve fell into sin, breaking themselves, their world, and their relationship with Him, He set about to undo and remake the damage into new and lasting beauty.

His craftsmanship, then goes beyond physical beauty or effective function. He works through Jesus to make all things new and right. He creates clean hearts in place of our filthy, sin-damaged natures. He works all things for good for those who believe in Him. Through the instrument of the cross, He bent and broke His Son so that He might straighten and restore us and our relationship with Him.

In Baptism, He makes us new. The Holy Spirit continues crafting us into the creatures He desires us to be through the Gospel. Jesus remakes and re-forms us as He feeds us on His own body and blood. And at the end of time, God will unveil His final project as Master Craftsman when He brings us into the new heavens and new earth to live with Him forever.


You formed my inward parts;
  you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
  I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
  my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
  when I was being made in secret,
  intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
  in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
    Psalm 139:13-16

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Master Craftsman.

NB: A few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio with Windows Media Player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Isaiah 25:6-9; John 14:1-7

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