This piece is mine!
(Sixth 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
Now that the glaze is dry and the shelf time is finally over, it’s into the fire!
This last firing will be at the highest temperature, and perhaps the most difficult process to endure. This firing will produce irreversible changes in the clay. It actually becomes glass. A piece of finished pottery, a vessel of honor fit for use in the palace of the King. Well, actually, it’s becoming a small tray in the humble house of the Youngs.
This time the clay must go through the fire alone. The ‘maturing’ fire!
Not only is the higher temperature of the kiln very strategic, but also the atmosphere and duration of the firing is crucial. The atmosphere within a kiln can be adjusted at this point to produce complex effects in the glaze. For example, some glazes containing iron will fire brown in one atmosphere, but will be green in another, depending on the amount of oxygen allowed in the kiln. And it is the Master Potter who sets the atmosphere, knows how high the temperature must be and how long this piece must stay in the fire to become mature. And the true colors of the glaze are only revealed in this ‘maturing’ fire. Yes, all is revealed in the final fire!
Bowl by Marty McLendon (Masster Potter) of Ahava Pottery Dish by McCarty Pottery
Isn’t it wonderful to know that through every step of the way the Master Potter watches us, knows us and never leaves us, even in the hottest fires of life? Early in the bisque firing we had other pieces (or persons) touching constantly, reassuring us as we pass through that we are not alone in the fire. However, it is in the maturing fire that the structure is actually changed from clay to glass.
And we must go through ALONE!
But wait! Didn’t our Master Potter say that he would be with us always? Didn’t He say that even in the fire he would be there? A resounding YES!! He is there! Watching the temperature carefully, making sure that it is not ONE DEGREE above what we can stand. He is there to set the atmosphere, releasing just the right amount of oxygen to shift and change the ugly gray glaze to shiny green, red or blue. He is there to determine the length of time that is required for us to become all that we were intended to be. Yes, He is there in the fire with us! The one who loves us most is there watching over each minute detail, insuring that we become the vessel of honor he so desired the first day his hand touched this clay. He is there!
So, my friend, whether you are being slammed, stuck on the shelf or sitting in the hottest of fires, HE KNOWS! He loves you! And He is there!
For you see, the hand that formed you has also engraved you on the palm of his hand. He used a nail and a cross 2000 years ago.
Now move through this final fire knowing that He who designed you is revealing the true colors of His heart in you. See the smile and laughter in His eyes as he admires His handiwork! Know the joy and pleasure of his heart as he lifts you up for the world to behold. Hear the gentile strength, love and emotion in His voice as he whispers quietly, “I fashioned you in my image. I love you! You are mine!”
Yes! ‘Arise and go down to the potter’s house with Jeremiah! Observe His creativity, watch His skillful hands at work, glean from His great wisdom. But above all come away with the knowledge and assurance that you are fearfully and wonderfully made, one of a kind, and deeply loved by the Master Potter himself! A worthy vessel fashioned by His own nail-scarred hand!
Communion Plate & Cup By Sheila McLendon of Ahava Pottery