Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'd like to be a pretty vase

Today's first reading is from Jeremiah 18:1-6. The LORD tells Jeremiah to go down to the potter's house and watch him form clay on a wheel. If you suddenly have flashbacks to that scene from Ghost, I don't want to know about it.

I had a pottery class in high school and clay can be a difficult medium. You can put all the time and care into creating an object and it might crack in the firing, then you have to break the pot, wet it down and mix it with new clay. When working on a wheel if the clay gets off center, even a tiny bit, you're pretty much out of luck and will need to start over.

In today's reading God is comparing us to the clay and He is the potter. Potters have the skill to create a beautiful vase, but clay has a mind of its own. God knows what it would take for me to be my best possible self, but if I'm not willing to work on my faults or allow God to guide me, then I'll just remain as I am. Yet, if I allow The Potter to mold me, then I can become a saint.

If you've ever watched a potter at a wheel, then you know that sometimes he makes small changes: take a little clay away, add some water, etc. Then there are the times when the clay completely collapses and the potter has to start over. There is something heartbreaking and scary about that wonky wobble of the clay, followed by folding into a heap. What once seemed to have a life of its own, lies wrinkled and still on the wheel. It's a great analogy for how grave sin or accidents of nature can break us down.

Regardless of what causes the collapse, God doesn't sit back and say, "Save yourself." The LORD centers the clay again and starts the wheel.  It can never be said enough, but God likes perfection; He does not simply create us and then let us go on our merry way. It's not like I only get one chance with God or if I mess up three times, then I'm out.  Every moment of every day God is willing and waiting to mold me, form me. Through prayer and discipline, conforming to God's loving hand, I can be the person God made me to be.

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