The Potter and the Clay - Mould me and shape me.

The Potter and the Clay

I’d like us to think about the Jeremiah passage. 

Jeremiah was a prophet but if we lived in his day would we have liked him?? 
Would he be someone we would want in our church? Would he be someone we would want as a friend?

Jeremiah, wasn’t very well behaved, he had a bad temper, he shouted at God, he even smashed a glass on the floor at a friends house.

He had brothers and he drove them crazy.  He had no friends – in fact he didn’t really want friends..

God always chooses those we lease expect..

And God chose Jeremiah to be a prophet in Judah.  

But even though God chose Jeremiah, he complained and argued with God.  ‘I can’t do it, I’m too young, get somebody else.’

As we all know you can’t argue with God.  God always wins. 

Jeremiah was always complaining… I can’t do this, I can’t do that.. people don’t listen, people are making fun of me.. Eventually God told Jeremiah off..
And Jeremiah continued struggling on and on going from one crisis to another.. 

But God didn’t give up on Jeremiah. 

So, in our passage today we find Jeremiah going to the Potter’s House, to wait for a message from God.

He is watching the potter.. 

I love being creative, I like the feel of the clay in my hands watching it change and become something new.

But I am no expert – I am bound to make a mistake, and no doubt I will roll it back together again into one lump.

Starting again and again, until it turns into something I’m happy with.

That day the potter had a problem with the pot.. He was having a bad day, it just wouldn’t go right.

But the potter didn’t stamp his feet, he didn’t sulk, he didn’t throw it away, he didn’t scream to high heaven that he was a failure, he didn’t blame the clay or his tools.

He just calmly picked it up, rolled it back together again and started again.

This was the message that God wanted Jeremiah not just to hear but to see. 

Jeremiah had to take the message to the people of Israel, God wants to reshape you, to re-work you.  They had wandered far away from God.

They had become hard-hearted, selfish, greedy, and wanted to do things their way not listen to God.   

But God hadn’t abandoned them he put his hands around them – and gradually reworked them until they had a new focus and new hope.

It was only after they had been re-shaped, re-moulded that they were able to enter the promised land.

That message is for us too..

When we are born we are like a lump of clay, waiting to be moulded and shaped, our different experiences determine how we turn out. Life is never straightforward or easy and at times we are bumped and cracked and sometimes those cracks break us.

God knows - things go wrong in our lives, but that doesn’t mean that God will discard us like bits of unwanted clay, if we allow God to help us, he will help us pick up the pieces, pat them back together and help us re-mould our lives.
But it’s not easy to be ‘Clay’ in the potter’s hands. 

Change makes us fearful and we can't always see ourselves re-moulded into something new or different.

Parents must adjust to children leaving the nest. Especially at this time of year when teenagers are off to university.

Partners have to adjust to the different stages of life. Communities have to adjust to the changes within their villages when new people move in.

and nations have to adjust to the changes within their culture.

The Church isn’t immune either it has to go through change too, allowing God to be the master shaper rather than always trying to do it our way.

Rather than be in control of our lives, God wants us to be willing to be shaped.  For God is actively at work in our lives, God’s hands always upon us.  It’s us that let go of God not God who lets go of us. 

And with God in charge who knows what might happen, maybe our lives will turn out differently than we expect.

If you had asked me at Easter whether I would be here now in a rural church in Wales – preaching.  I might have thought you were cracked, but God takes our lives and shapes them.

The potter and the clay reminds us that even if we become cracked or broken God will be there to help put us back together, we always have another chance to become the person God’s wants us to be. 

We just need to let go of what we want, and listen to what God wants.

Because No matter how old or young we are God hasn’t finished with us yet.. we are still a work in progress till the end of our days..

For children

God wants us to be moulded and shaped, so that we grow up to become the people he wants us to be.

Get a lump of clay and make it into a pot.  As you are talking drop the pot so that it becomes dented.  Then explain that at times we trip and fall, as the mistakes that we make, that make us have bumps and cracks but God knows that we make mistakes that we are only human.  That in order to grow at times we need to experience mistakes so that we learn not to make them again.

As are not perfect, that’s what makes us need the forgiveness of God.  It is not a weakness to admit that we have done something wrong.  It is a strength.  With forgiveness comes an ability to try again.  Not to be afraid of trying new things even if we get it wrong, God gives us the opportunity to try again.

Craft for this is obvious.
A lump of air dry clay for each child to make into a pot – a spiral pot is probably the easiest. On a paper plate with their name on to take home. 
If you give to the children knives (not sharp), and other things to make a pattern on them.

A song for the children to learn and sing as a prayer is:-

           Spirit of the living God,
           Fall afresh on me.
           Spirit of the living God,
           Fall afresh on me.
           Break me, melt me,
           Mould me, fill me,
           Spirit of the living God,
           Fall afresh on me
.


There is a very simple tune to follow on You Tube.
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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