(Fifth 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
There is much activity in the potters shed. Marty is glazing all of the bisque-fired pieces today. Coming into the shed I see about eight or nine 5-gallon buckets filled with gray or tan slurry. I’m really thinking it was named correctly: SLURRY. Thick, gunky looking stuff. And not at all the beautiful colors I expected to see! Explaining that the true color of the glaze comes out in the fire, I’m once again reminded of our loving heavenly Father who by his kindness changes our gunky, gray stuff into beautiful, breath taking color-In the fire!
But first to the glazing. I dip the bottom of my piece in hot wax so that the bottom will not hold the glaze, keeping this part of my vessel from adhering to the kiln shelf. Next I am told by Marty that I must keep stirring the slurry so that it will stay mixed as I dip my piece into the thick glaze. Marty shows me several samples of color and I choose a teal green with yellow undertones. I write this exact slurry name down on my original design sheet so that I can remember exactly which of the gray slurries I used. Making sure that all the surfaces are covered, I then set my piece on the shelf to dry! More shelf time!
My piece has been slammed, shaped, bone dried, fired once and now on the shelf again. Sure, I could just take my lovely, tan bisque-fired dish home. I don’t have to dip it into the thick, gunky slurry. I could quit right now. Who wants to get their hands in that stuff! But, as lovely as this piece is at this stage, it would serve very little purpose. You see, clay is a porous substance. This means that if liquid is placed in my unglazed piece, it would leak out of the open pores, making it good only for decoration purposes. Not really fit for any useful thing. It must go down into the gunk, let it dry, and wait for the fire.
You know, I clean up good on Sunday mornings for church. But how does that look on Monday morning, when all the gunk of the world comes creeping in? How does that look when my desk is piled high with unfinished work, dirty dishes in the sink, laundry to do and someone needs me to run an errand for them? What about the times I’ve volunteered one too many times to take a meal, watch someone’s children, and am just too tired to be nice today, especially to my family? Am I still ‘Looking good?” Or was my Sunday Morning smile merely a bisque-fired decoration? Can this vessel hold His living water for that thirsty person who needs my help, or the older neighbor who needs my smile and prayer? Yep! It’s time for glazing and a little more shelf time.
Lord, help me to be patient as you continue to prepare me to be your vessel. Help me to know that each process is important in shaping me into your image. Help me to be willing to ‘dunk down’ into the gunky mess of this world, be willing to let this stuff dry all over me, and be willing sit on the shelf just a little longer. I want to be able to hold your living water to give to a dry and thirsty world. And help me to remember that you make beautiful things out of dust!