Bread – Clay

March 18, 2015


Readings for Wednesday, March 18, 2015, designated by the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: Jer. 18:1-11; Rom. 8:1-11; John 6:27-40; Psalms 101,109,119:121-144

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We are but clay in the potter’s hand, as God spoke through Jeremiah in our Old Testament reading today. God, speaking to nations and particularly to the nation of Israel says, “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done?…Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.” Jer. 18:5-6

When God chooses to re-form us into His image, by bringing us into relationship with Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit, God is acting as the potter, taking clay which is malformed by original sin and re-making it into something which is alive, free, bold, and loving. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. .. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. “ Rom. 8:1,3b-4,9

There are a couple of things about clay which come to mind. First, clay cannot re-form itself. It requires a creator, a potter, to make it into something useful. Second, until it is formed, it is essentially a lump, a lump of clay. Something with potential but no result. It will remain only potential until the creator, the potter, acts. Third, it can harden. When it does, adding water (does baptism come to mind?), prepares the clay to be formed in the way the potter intends.

We are like that clay with one major exception. We think we choose to be the clay or the bowl made from clay. We think we can form ourselves in the first place and reform ourselves in the second place. Unlike clay which requires someone to throw water on it to make it ready to be formed, we think we can throw the water on ourselves. In our way of thinking, clay makes a good analogy but it ends at the brain – clay has no brain and we do. Therefore, “clay” does not apply to us. We are not dumb beasts, like sheep, but intelligent people driven to make good choices by good education and good upbringing.

Ah, but not so. In today’s reading from John, man speaks and God answers. Man says this to Jesus – “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jn. 6:28. God (Jesus) says this in response to man – “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” Jn. 6:29

There is nothing we can do to bring about our own salvation. Why? Because under sin we are dead – we have no brain which understands God and as to Him we are clay. But the “work of God” is this – that while we are a lump of clay, God the Creator puts His hand upon us and brings us unto belief in Christ and from there, unto a man who walks by the Spirit, forming us into a saved person, worthy by the death of Christ and His resurrection to be with God for eternity.

We are the clay and He is the potter. Thank God!

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© 2015 GBF

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