IN THE POTTERS HANDS                    Jer.18.1-6

Have you ever seen a potter at work? Have you tried working with clay? I am always amazed at the skill of the potter. There are long hours spent in laboring over the work to see that it comes out the right mould. The fashioned clay is then placed in the kiln at a hot temperature. The clay is left to dry and formed into its mould. Working with clay is messy; it involves a lot of sweat, blood and tears!

Jeremiah is called upon by the Lord to go to the house of the potter to observe and take note of the workmanship in fashioning the clay. The prophet notices that the clay becomes marred, it is ruined. The potter must start again – which can sometimes happen – very time consuming. The Prophet looks on with great interest at the patience, skill and effort of the potter to achieve the right mould.

The Lord God speaks to Jeremiah through the image. God will deal with the House of Israel just as the potter has dealt with the clay. God will work at fashioning a people whom he can call his own being formed in the mould of his ways and truth.  The people have become ‘marred’ through their sinfulness and waywardness but God will seek the lost and form them into a holy nation set apart for him. Like clay in the hand of the potter so will Israel be in the hands of the Lord God. The word “potter” here is similar to the Hebrew word “Maker”. Israel is vulnerable in the hands of the Maker.

In the book of Genesis we read of the account of creation. God gets down on his “hands and knees” as it was to do a work. He forms man, Adam, and then woman, Eve, is formed out of man. God creates, breathes his Spirit of life and man becomes a living being. Working with clay is messy. God works with us in the midst of our messy lives. God is not afraid to get “his hands dirty”. God has molded a people through the person of Jesus. We are conformed into the image of his Son, and God is not afraid to go at length to see that image formed and developed. Just as God intervened in the mess of the people of Israel, so he wants to intervene in our mess. We are to come to God as we are – messy, ruined, in a word, “sinners”, and he does the shaping and craftwork. We are to be supple and allow God to do the working. St. Paul tells us that we are the workmanship of God – created in Christ Jesus do good works which God has prepared in advance (Eph.2.10).

Do I allow the Lord to come into the messiness of my life? Have I invited him to fashion and mould me?

Create in me a clean heart; put a new and right spirit in me. Mould me, melt me, fill me and use me. I give my life into the Potters hand. Amen