This blog was inspired by my visit to the pottery house at St. Peter’s, McKinney. I was there to try to “throw a pot,” with the help of master potter, Steve Macia, on behalf of the program to support feeding programs called, Empty Bowls.
The potter, the wheel, and the clay, remind us of the great passage from the prophet Jeremiah where God makes it clear that we are His creation, the work of His hand, which He can do with as He wills, and reform to His purpose. It challenges our presumption, and rightly so!
But the image is open to a second account (and doubtless others). The potter is also like the apostle, teacher, mentor, priest. For he or she must watch a master before beginning. It is as much an art of imitation as instruction. And he or she must get a feel for the clay, the education being one of finding the proper angle, the point literally to press, the way to support while you shape lest the shape you are building up collapse. And it will go wrong, get a tough lopsided, and you may have to take it down and build it up again. The center and floor must be right, and only then can you, by the constant and patient application of purpose, widen the space out, give it contour. The pot must be shaped, and then it must withstand intense heat. It must be serviceable, and hardy, before it can be decorated, And if all this goes wrong, the master can step in and get it back on track, wordlessly, without claim of credit, so that the outside world only sees the outcome, the pot, ours.
All that, which I learned in a novice’s hour of working with the clay, comprises a complex parable about how being built-up in discipleship for Christ really takes place.