In college, my esteemed writing professor (also a member at my church), gave us some basic rules. These “rules” always accompany me as I write anything, even if sometimes I break them.
One rule that I especially prize: avoid common images. In other words, do not use something we’ve heard before, but bring your own unique creation, observation, view-point to whatever you are writing. Avoid, at all cost, generic, common and overused phrases and images.
So on Sunday, when Jeremiah 18’s God as the Potter.
How many times has this been used in sermons, prayers, art, and children stories? The image is so, well, overused and perfect. Sorry Dr. Dorr, but this is one exception I know that you would accept.
With Sunday’s sermon, what I really grasped onto was the image of the potter and the resistant clay. When truly have to be open and willing to be molded by God, to be shaped and poked and prodded in order for God to shape us into what God has in mind.
We have to let go, breathe, open ourselves to the unknown, and trust God.
I look at my children, seeing their uniqueness, their tendencies, how they approach the world.
I watch one who fluctuates from all in and to all out. Who wants to trust with all his heart, but has a lack of trust for himself. Then the other, born with a smile, laugh and ever observant eyes, is naturally resilient. No matter what is thrown at her, she bounces back and runs forward.
I think of the ultimate Potter, shaping them. I think of the ultimate Potter, and wonder what I can do to help my children be open and trusting in their God, in our God.
What can I do, as I protect them from distracted drivers, predators, bullies and, at times, themselves – to help them be open and trusting?
They are mine for such a short time. Embodied blessings which God has lent to me to care for, to nurture, to guide.
They are God’s, not truly mine.
They are the Potter’s to shape into what the Potter imagines. A beautiful creation way more glorious than anything I can imagine. An unique child of God, called to a unique purpose that I may never be aware of.
Perhaps the only thing I can do, between the diapers, flu shots, locating the winter coats, and cups of coffee, is to be open to the Potter’s Hands. To be open and trusting, to not be afraid.
Potter of the Heavens and Earth, help me nurture these children you have blessed me with so that they may be responsive to your shaping. Guide me so that I may know what to do. Help me so that I may be fully open to you, so that may see You reflected in my life. Amen.