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9.07.2010

IS THAT A PENCIL HOLDER?

II Corinthians 4 pulls me back time and time again.  Maybe it's my memory of my own clay experience or my daughter's pottery class in college.  When I was a kid, I wanted a potter's wheel.  Why, I don't know as I hated art class with all the dislike one can muster for glitter, paper, glue and colored pencils.  For whatever reason, I envisioned myself, creative juices flowing, skillfully forming a beautiful bowl or statuesque vase.  My work of art would tip the scale of beauty by gracefully holding a magnificent bouquet or polished apples. Having watched a bit of PBS, it looked relatively easy.  My loud pestering and hinting paid off.  I got a potter's wheel for Christmas from my favorite uncle (He is partly to blame/credit for creating in me my desire to see and think bigger).  The only thing left in my journey of artistic greatness was the actual clay forming.  How hard could it be?  Even though my repertoire of things I could draw consisted of; a house with smoke curling out of the chimney, a sidewalk, landscaped plants, trees, birds made from the letter M, puffy clouds, a sun, grass and small flowers.  That clay was not at all the consistency I saw on TV or what I envisioned it would feel like in my hands.  It was a very, very hard block of gray stuff.  It was not pliable, and definitely not suitable for an artist's hands.  Trying not to be discouraged, I forged ahead.  I worked the clay between my hands to soften it and plopped it on the wheel (that's what a potter did on PBS).  Here and now it would become in my hands, the greatest piece of pottery ever seen by the known world, or at least the Cherry household.  I worked the wheel and guided my fingers ever so lightly around the spinning lump of clay.  Soon I stopped to inspect my marvel.  It was not good.  In fact, it was hideous.  There were no smooth, even edges.  Nothing about it resembled any piece of pottery I had ever seen.  What had I done wrong?  I had all the right equipment, but lacked the skill of a master potter.  In chapter 4 of II Corinthians Paul talks of clay - treasures in jars of clay.  This unformed, hidden beauty (ME) in desperate need of a master potter.  Verse 7, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."  The thought of me holding the Son of God on display.  WOW!  Wait, I need to clean myself up, you know get it more right first.  I'm not "beautiful" enough to display such splendor, nor am I strong enough to hold such power on my own.  Then I remember I don't have to - the Master Potter does the work, he transforms me to the vessel he needs.  God chooses the fragile work of clay - the human frame and spirit (limited and flawed humans - me, you, King David, Paul, Martin Luther, Ed Young, Ted Bundy) to display Himself.  He doesn't want me to get distracted by the work of my own hands, but be transformed by the contents we hold.  Once in awhile others may wonder, "Is that a pencil holder or what"?  In process I say - in process.

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