18 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. – Jeremiah 18:1-6 (NIV)
What a fantastic image, like molding clay into useful vessels, the Lord is always shaping us, individually and corporately. But the more I think about, being shaped is painful, like trying to keep your physical body in shape, why would it be any different with your soul.
When God is working on us and shaping us, it can mean making some big changes in our lives. Some of those changes can be painful. At least “The Potter” is there to see us through it and mold us into what we can become – something better than before, something useful for the world.
The same is true for The Church. In the Lutheran church, we have this saying, “Always reforming.” It goes back 500 years to the Reformation and our beginnings. Sounds good on paper, but in reality, it can be painful. Let these words echo for a minute, “change in church”. Talk about starting a conflict, suggest a change in your faith community. However, as culture changes, so too must the church change, always re-forming. Every congregation must be contextual in its message to its particular culture, it’s imperative to communicate the message of God’s love. What should be beautiful though is sometimes painful because we have to change or be changed or die on the scrap heap.
The true beauty is that The Lord is willing to get his hands dirty to help us, to work with our mess.
Questions that need further reflection:
- How is God re-forming you? Why? For What?
- How is God re-forming your church/congregation? Why? For what?
Prayer: Lord, shape us and mold us into the vessels that bear your love and grace to the world. Amen.