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Monday, October 24, 2011

I Am the Potter: You Are the Clay

We live in a microwave society; but God uses slow cookers.

I’ve been told it takes 12 years to become a good potter. I’ve been at it for 8 years, part time. Be it12 years or 8, pottery is something that I will always be learning to do. Taking a lump of clay and making it into a mug, a sculpture or even a vase is exciting. The best part is I get to decorate it. I feel I have only touched the tip of the iceberg in pottery. Learning to make pottery is a slow cooker process.  I will always be tweaking and improving my pottery.

God works like this in our lives.  “I am the potter and you are the clay.”

The first thing I do when starting a clay project is to take the clay and wedge it, which is similar to kneading bread. This aligns the molecules causing the clay to become smooth.

God some times has to pound at our lives to align us to Him and to mold our self will into His will, smoothing out our rough spots.

Imagine my shock if my clay said to me, ‘make me into the most exquisite vase, not a plain mug’. That would be absurd to think this would happen, but how often do we do this with God, the one who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves?

After I have created bowls, cups, vases, dishes, animals, any thing I like, I place the piece a self under plastic, which allows it to dry slowing, preventing it from cracking. During the drying time, about 2 weeks, I will take a peak at the pottery to see it progress.

In my life with God there have been many times when I feel God has ignored me. Have I been set up on the shelf to dry off slowing after he has worked on me? God has not ignored me, but is checking up on my progress, anxiously waiting for the drying time to end.

When the clay is bone dry, no moisture left in it, I place it in a kiln and fire it to about 1800 degrees F. It takes several hours to fire the clay, then a few days for the clay to cool down before I can take the bisque ware out of the kiln. Now I can give it color and make it unique by painting on glazes and or decorations. Back into the kiln it goes, but up to 2195 degrees. At the end of the day the kiln has finished, but again I have to wait a few days before I can see what the pottery looks like. If I take it out too early, before it has cooled down the shock of the cool air will cause the glaze to crack. It is all in the timing of the clay and I can’t rush it. God knows he can’t rush us or we might crack too.

Sometimes I will put a luster finish of gold, or pearl and it will need another firing in the kiln. Most pottery is only in the kiln twice, but the fancier it is the more times it is fired.  Often the brightest finishes are some of the last to be applied. In some of the high gloss glazes I can see my reflection.  
I see each kiln firing as God’s refining fires of tribulation. The more he works on us, and the more heat we endure, the more our lives can shine his glory. People will be able to see the reflection of Jesus our creator in us. It takes patience to do pottery. God takes time and has abundant patience with us, which I am thankful for.  
When we allow God to work on us our true personality comes out into the light.

Clay can be made into almost anything. There is such a wide variety of finishes and uses of pottery; earthenware to matte finishes to high gloss and several in between.  With hand built pottery no two pieces are exactly a like.

 Our beauty of whom God created us to be is unique. No one is the same.

My pray is that each and everyone find out who God has created you to be. May your life reflect the glory of God so we become the kingdom of God’s on earth.