United Church of Christ

The Potter's Wheel

“I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter shaped it into another pot, shaping it as it seemed best to him.” - Jeremiah 18:3-4 (NIV)

Are we more shaped or are we more shapers? Who is in charge of us? Our peers? Our context? Our bosses? Ourselves? Or better put, which part of multiple influences actually directs us?

The potter was just making a pot. We are making a life. Some of us are even trying to follow Jesus in that life. His direction is to allow us to allow ourselves to be shaped by the poor or naked or feeble. When did we see an outsider and not see Jesus in them?

Freedom is the ability to choose our own bondage. By what shapes will we be formed? How will we become beautiful and useful? Who will tell us who we are? The least of these can bring out the best in us. Jesus suggests an awesome failure and an even more awesome engagement with human reality. He isn’t looking for sourpusses here. He is looking for free choice, happily made.

Remember your last mission trip? Or your accompaniment with an undocumented person to court? Remember how you thought you were helping them only to find out they were helping you? That is the Jesus-shaped person’s common experience.

A lot matters about how we choose to connect to the so-called least of these. Be careful of the Messiah complex, but not of relationship with the Messiah.

No one is stopping us from shaping ourselves in a “down market” direction. Interesting.

Prayer
Allow us, O God, to look up and down and all around and to finally get in our optimal spiritual shape.

Donna SchaperAbout the Author
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Frances: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.

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