How to Change the World
(Posted August 31, 2022)
“A vessel is formed from a lump of clay with care, however, it is the empty space within the vessel that makes it useful”. Lao Tse
One of my favorite Bible images of God is the potter at his wheel, forming a pot out of the humble essence of clay. If the pot is not to God’s liking, it’s a simple matter to press it down hard and start all over. The next time it will be without whatever imperfections the first one might have had.
On this Labor Day weekend, it’s the first days of what we traditionally treat as the beginning of autumn. It’s also a time when we start thinking about the future, about the things we’d like to change and about the good things we want more of.
The Potter’s Lessons Teach Us How to Change the World
It’s up to us to learn the lessons the potter teaches us, because we want to become that lovely pot whose center is open to receive God’s graces. But before that, we must do what every potter does to the clay before it goes on the wheel: we must take the raw clay that is us, and make sure there are no air pockets in the material. If the air allowed to become part of the pot and goes into the kiln, it becomes “hot air” that will expand and explode the pot. The potter does this with his strength and by “wedging” it in half on a wire to look for air bubbles.
It's not a surprise that further along in in this passage from Jeremiah, God the potter is warning Israel, with its political puffery and “hot air” taking the people away from listening to the Creator, that the Lord says this:
“Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the LORD. Just like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. At one moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will pluck up and break down and destroy it, but if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, turns from its evil, I will change my mind about the disaster that I intended to bring on it.
“And at another moment I may declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will build and plant it, but if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will change my mind about the good that I had intended to do to it.”
Changing the World Begins with You
Are we as a nation and a people wise enough to remove the “hot air” from our dialogue with one another, and look for ways to peacefully share, to become a stronger “vessel” for what God intends for our futures? How can we be a part of this?
Find out more this Communion Sunday as we share bread, wine and wisdom for the season ahead.