This last Sunday we talked about the familiar metaphor of the potter and the clay. As a pastor, sometimes I find it really hard (and dull and boring) to preach on topics that have been preached almost to death. To try to liven things up a bit and help us to approach the metaphor from a different direction, everyone at worship that morning received a piece of clay and listened to John Denver’s song, “The Potter’s Wheel.”
After that time to play with the clay and reflect on the metaphor we checked in. Some people shared their thoughts, others shared what they had created and what it meant. Then I suggested that if God is typically the potter and we are the clay, what happens when that metaphor is actually in our hands and we are massaging and creating? Who are we and who is the clay?
Yes, we are God. And the clay is our lives, our world, our relationships, our attitudes and behaviors… anything we choose to mold and shape. One person spoke up and said, “Then does this make us co-creators with God?” Yes! Absolutely! Our hands are on the potter’s wheel with God’s. Unlike puppets on a string, we have the ability and responsibility to help create our own destinies. It takes our participation, our hard work (sometimes harder than others), our imagination and our desire to create a new, better self, or a new, better world.
To continue to examine the potter and clay metaphor, I recognize a few important things. First, we always have a second (third, fourth…) chance to create and re-create ourselves and our lives. What a beautiful thing! That doesn’t mean it is easy, but it is possible. Second, the artist always has an intimate relationship with their creation. The artist knows the vision, where it came from, the trials, errors and frustrations of getting there. The artist understands that sometimes what at first appeared to be a flaw in the design later turned out to be the key piece or source of inspiration.
And third, in this particular medium of molding our lives we are never truly done. Life changes and we must change. We must continue to grow, learn and adapt. Personally, that probably means you can call me Lumpy. The clay of my life is rarely smooth and seems to be in some constant state of flux. But I believe, that with my hands working with those of the Spirit, my clay is slowly becoming more and more authentically me.