Lessons from the Potter
For so many of us, the news cycle has become a wheel of misfortune. With cyclical regularity we are spun into another fit of despair. COVID numbers continue to mount, along with the baffling assertions of officials and pundits desperate to convince us all is well. The loss of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg unleashed a political firestorm that, however it resolves, will leave us to repair long swatches of scorched earth. Racial injustice rears its head regularly, as the flagrant mishandling of Breonna Taylor’s case reminds us again. Most days it feels like we’re on a merry-go-round that is neither merry nor going in any kind of hopeful direction. Just around and around and around.
We are not the first generation to experience this. Times were comparably tough for the prophet Jeremiah, as he watched his nation fall apart before his eyes. He railed against injustice in very public and persuasive ways. Yet he couldn’t move the people away from their own self-destructive habits and sinful attitudes. The news may have traveled more slowly back then, but the same cyclical kind of despair—one thing after another after another—was Jeremiah’s daily portion. He’s not called The Weeping Prophet for nothing!
After another experience preaching to deaf ears, God instructs Jeremiah to visit a pottery studio, where he sees an artisan rescue a flawed vessel by remaking it. “Can’t I do the same with you?” God asks, addressing the prophet as much as the nation he cares about.
One of the great lessons from the Potter is that we are all works in progress, being made and remade, consistently perfected until we’re finished vessels. And along the way, when we place ourselves in the hands of the Master Craftsman, our cracks and flaws get mended. Why? Because it’s in the Potter’s best interest to make us over. We can’t be as useful to him/her if we aren’t sufficiently strong and adequately shaped to “hold our own.” And for this reason alone, we become the beneficiaries of divine patience, compassion, and care.
This happens on a different kind of wheel that spins a different kind of way and follows a different set of cycles than what we get in the constant spin that intimidates us with its gloom and doom. Even as the world seems like it’s whirling out of control, we are firmly held in the Potter’s hands. The pressures exerted on us give us shape. The remaking may be painful, but it also works out impurities that might distort the Potter’s intentions for us.
The struggle, of course, is learning to rest on the wheel, recognizing its spin and the pressures of reshaping are necessary discomforts. We are becoming, always becoming what the Potter knows we can be.
“Can’t I do the same with you?” God asked the prophet. God asks us the same of us today.
Join us this coming Sunday, when Gather hosts its monthly online worship at 5pm CDT. You can access the service at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCldChQ-w8vS1vkbSDyyxLOQ.
We need your help!
As we think about the future of Gather, please let us know what gifts you bring and would like to share with the community. There are many roles that have to come together to make Gather happen every week. This includes setup, technical support, worship, managing handouts and information, coordinating drinks, and teardown. We need your help. Please let us know what type of service you’d be interested in!
Watch God Work,
Tim & Shea
As we prepare to become a vibrant worshipping community, we invite you to enjoy a Spotify playlist that captures the kind of worship we hope to embrace. Give it a spin while you’re driving. Make it your workout jam. Add it to your devotional time. Most of all, feel yourself becoming part of a sacred village of believers who love their God and one another!
Check out the Gather Worship Playlist here.