Monday, September 26, 2011

we are the clay, and thou our potter

This post is going to be the first in a series I want to do on pottery and the characteristics of clay and how hopefully help us meditate on this verse from Isaiah.

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. - Isaiah 64:8
A few years ago my friend Julie was taking a pottery class at Biola. I stopped by to visit her in the art studio. She was working on a project for class wherein she had to use a potter's wheel and throwing clay. I watched as she tossed a misshapen ball of clay on the wheel, wet her hands and set the wheel spinning. Her hands carefully and methodically guided the clay up and down forming a cylindrical shape.

I watched her work for several minutes, my mind mesmerized by her slow and subtle workings on the clay. It wasn't long before this previously shapeless lump was beginning to take the form of a cup. Julie looked up at me,

"You want to give it a try?"

I chuckled but had always wanted to work clay on a potter's wheel and so I took her up on the offer. Julie sat me at a wheel and handed me my own ball of clay. I tossed it down on the wheel, wet my hands and started the wheel spinning.

Right away I knew something was wrong. As I began to try and mold the clay into a cylinder, I could not keep it inline with it's base causing it to be crooked. I looked befuddled at Julie. She smiled knowingly.

"If you don't center the clay when you toss it down you'll have a heck of a time keeping it straight."

I stopped the wheel, collapsed the clay, lifted it up and tossed it back down, aiming for the center. Not surprisingly it took my several attempts before I was able to get the clay in just the right spot so I could even begin to work with it.

Honestly, I wonder how many times my Father has had to do this with me as well. Though in His case it's not His fault that the clay isn't center. As the clay I'm often choosing to slide out of the center of His will. Making it harder for me to be shaped into the idea of what He wants to form me into.

Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil. - Prov. 4:27
 I must allow my Father to change my position with Him. If I am not inline with Him how can I hope to be used by Him? One of the problems with having to toss the clay back onto the wheel is that you can loose some of the shape from the impact. Shaping has to begin again. However once the clay is centered wonderful things can begin to happen.

All knowing and wise Father, when I stray from the center of your will would you continue to be gracious and place me back. I want to be the form of your choosing, to be used in the time and place that you see fit. Help me in my times of fear or stubbornness that would see me resisting your correction. Would you give me wisdom to know that without our relationship being aligned the changes in me are futile. Thank you for not settling with second best in my transformation. You have everything to see that I will end up the product of your powerful hands, according to your will.  Amen.

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