My favourite TV programme at the moment is The Great Pottery Throw Down on BBC2. It’s basically the Great British Bake Off, but with clay. I love watching the clay turn into such amazing and imaginative pots. The people competing have made giant clocks, flower pots, vases, sake sets, so many great things that have been transformed from the lump of dull clay on their wheels.
There are many different stages to make a pot (that I’ve observed) there are long gaps between each stage. Every time I watch the show I am drawn into the creative process, the slight extra pressure in one hand can completely change the shape and formation of the final product.
I can’t watch the show without thinking about this passage in Jeremiah 18:1-6,
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
I think about us being delicately moulded in God’s hands. I wonder how we twirl around the wheel, do we dance together? I imagine us hand in hand as the wheel turns, times where he sits back and admires his work in us, smiling with joy. But I imagine there are times where we wrestle with him and he wrestles with us. There are times where we try to be the potter and start to take over the wheel and mould ourselves with our own agendas. Moulding ourselves starves us from the intimate dance we have with God, there is no interaction, we twist wildly on the wheel until our fragile form comes undone and we are once again a lump of raw clay.
But clay is very versatile and can be reworked, so our patient Heavenly Father pops us back on the wheel and waits for us to become recentred again. Slowly we begin to dance, changing, whirling, transformed by his love. This process is a lifelong dance, I don’t think we will ever be the finished pot until we are raised at the end.
I’m spending this lent making sure I’m as centred on the wheel as possible through prayer and making space for quiet times. According to the judges on the The Great Pottery Throw Down, having well centred clay allows the potter to create lots of different forms.
I want to dance around that wheel with God, to mould and transform me every day that I walk this journey with him. I have faith in him to stop the wheel when I’m trying to take over. I have faith in him that he will listen to me too when we wrestle as we spin.
Our God is faithful and he delights in us. We need to remember that if we try to be the potter, we miss out on that intimate dance with God, but if we come back and stay centred on his wheel, our faithful God turns us, reworks us, and the opportunities for transformation are endless.