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Jeremiah 18:1-11, The Potter and the Clay

Several years ago, I took a pottery class. I’d always wanted to work with clay, so I just dove in. One evening I brought home the most beautiful, colorful, sturdy bowl. The only problem was – we were making mugs.

I think of that every time I read this story. It’s so fitting – God can make beauty out of a lump of mud. We are that beautiful thing – muddy, dirty, lumpy – but God works and reworks us until art is created, and we come out the other side beautiful and exquisite!

On this US Thanksgiving (or even if today is an ordinary day for you), when it can be common to thank God for the good things we have in life, perhaps we can look back over the past year and remember the things we are not proud of. Maybe we can look at the illnesses, the financial difficulties, the broken relationships, the lost jobs, and thank God for those, too. Because through those, God can work and rework us, like clay, so that we come out the other side beautiful, tough, resilient, and exquisite.

Jeremiah 18:1-11

The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: 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.

Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.