(Fourth in a six part series)
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Jeremiah 18:1-2
This lump of clay has been slammed, kneaded, molded, shaped and is now bone dry. Time for the first fire. As I observed the tenderness with which Marty held my delicate piece, I realized just how fragile it is at this stage. I even held my breath as he gently placed it, along with several other pieces, into the kiln. This lump of clay was becoming my chosen vessel and at this time, more than ever it was vulnerable to being broken. I had conceived it, chosen it, fashioned it, and now I wanted to guard and protect it.
I pondered how kind, gentile and understanding our heavenly Father is when we are in a state of vulnerability, so easily broken. When we are weak, he carries us ever so tenderly and takes great care that we are not broken or chipped. My how I have underestimated His care, love and tenderness.
As Marty slowly, carefully loaded the kiln, I was shocked at how much he could get into that small round oven. He explained that pieces must touch during this bisque firing. As the temperature is slowly raised, the pieces help distribute the heat evenly throughout the kiln. Were it to go up too fast the pieces would crack or explode. The attentive potter listens as the temperature increases. If he hears sounds, he can quickly lower the temperature a little to keep other pieces from cracking.
Some scriptures came to me as I contemplated this ‘going through the fire together.’ “Bear ye one another’s burden” or “We are all part of the body of Christ, rightly fit together.”
Without the touching, one piece might get too hot too quickly, or another not hot enough and both would loose the benefits of the firing. The integrity of each piece affects all the others in the fire. Should one piece have an air bubble or a hard place, the whole batch of pottery in the kiln could be ruined. “A root of bitterness defiles many!” Lord, help us to keep our hearts pure, walk in forgiveness and keep our eyes on you. Not only for our own peace, but also to benefit others around us.
And when we are in the fire, we can rest assured that our Master Potter is watching and listening closely, knowing exactly how high to raise the heat, how long we need to stay in the fire and how slowly we need to come out. Even when we are in the hot, dark kiln of the Holy Spirit, remember we are becoming vessels, fit for His purposes.
Yes, Jeremiah, Go to the Potters House. There you will discover the tenderness, wisdom, and love of the Master Potter Himself. Ever present. “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I have called you by my name. When you go through the fire, you will not be burned.”
Next: The glazing! Beauty for Ashes!