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Planting Roses When the World Burns

Christ calls us to cultivate the true beauty that can change the world.


In the 1930s there was a group of artists in Europe that met regularly as the shadow of war spread across the continent. The Nazis were on the march invading one country after another. In that dark time, these artists would gather and ask each other this question: "How can one think about planting roses when the world is burning?"

They asked, how can we pursue art—how can we paint, and compose music, and spend our time creating beautiful things when there is so much ugliness and despair all around us? How can we plant roses when the world is burning? How would you have answered them? I want you to hold on to that thought.

The last time I preached in this church I focused on the theology of vocation—the idea that God has a calling for each person, and that we each have multiple callings. First there is our highest calling to live in unity with God. And then we all share a set of common callings—those things that all Christians in all places and all times are called to do. Like love one another, give to those in need, seek justice, and announce the good news of God. But every one of us also has a specific calling from God—a vocation that we are uniquely gifted and called to do. We are called to be a spouse to a specific person, or a parent to specific children, or a teacher, a business leader, a pastor, a gardener, a doctor, an air traffic controller. Whatever God has called us to, it matters. We should pursue our specific callings with passion, for the blessing of others and to bring glory to God.

This morning I want to continue talking about vocation, but this time I want to go a bit deeper and more specific. I want to talk about one specific calling that has the power to transform the way ...

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Skye Jethani is an author, speaker, consultant, and ordained minister. He also serves as the co-host of the popular Holy Post Podcast.

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Sermon Outline:


I. Moving from Practical to Beautiful

II. Valuing the Impractical

III. Performing an Act of Defiance