April 6, 2011

Good morning on this rainy Wednesday!

Today’s Reading:

Jeremiah 18:1-4

The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.


This imagery of the potter creating a vessel is super fascinating to me….

I have always been fascinated with different types of pottery.  Pottery goes back for thousands and thousands of years.  Pottery spans times and cultures and is so unique to each one…

And the clay is so formative and becomes many different vessels.  If one container becomes a problem, the potter can mold the clay into something different and acceptable to the potter. The clay is reworked and moved and formed into something new…something different…something beautiful.

I have always thought it would be fun to take up pottery, although I say this after I have told people I want to play guitar well, tap dance, and do slam poetry.  Life has plenty of time, right?  But throwing a pot has always been sort of intriguing to me just out of the pure beauty of creating a vessel.  Everytime I dig into the earth in Oregon and see the wealth of clay in the land, I think about the molding of the potter.  The earth is so malleable and lovely.  The clay works with our hands and moves and takes on a whole new life.

Jeremiah sees this and sees what God is doing with God’s people.  It is a gift to move with the spirit.  It is a gift to work on ourselves during this time of Lent.  It is a gift to know that if things aren’t going right, we can start over and become something else completely different and beautiful but made up of the same stuff.  I tend to use some stuff from a favorite artist and theologian named Jan Richardson. Some of you personally know her actually and I am blessed to go to her blog and read her deep thoughts and blessings.  She wrote one the other day about the blessing of mud that I would like to share with you.  Her context was a bit different and you can see that at www.paintedprayerbook.com but I think the blessing still works this morning.

Blessing of Mud

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the dirt.

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the earth
beneath our feet.

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the dust

like the dust
that God scooped up
at the beginning
and formed
with God’s
two hands
and breathed into
with God’s own

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the spit.

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the mud.

Lest we think
the blessing
is not
in the mire,
the grime,
the muck.

Lest we think
that God
cannot reach
deep into the things
of earth,
cannot bring forth
the blessing
that shimmers
within the sludge,
cannot anoint us
with a tender
and grimy grace.

Lest we think
that God
will not use the ground
to create us
once again,
to cleanse us
of our unseeing,
to open our eyes upon
this ordinary
and stunning world.

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