September 5, 2016

September 4th 2016

Editor’s Note:  Randy Karcher led Children in Worship this Sunday.  He set up a table and a chair and played the role of a modern day potter.  He had a collection of pottery items communion chalice, a cast of a hand, items from his girls growing up and showed how they are all the gift of potters.  Then he took play doe and showed how a potter could make an item like a circle then smashed it down and remade the circle.  He used all of this to explain what I would be talking about in my sermon.  I felt it was a powerful message and one that complemented my sermon and wanted to share it with you.

Let us pray:  This morning Dear Lord we come to sit not just at your feet but at the wheel of the potter.  We come to marvel at the skill you use in crafting your creation.  We know that you Lord are the one who shaped everything and when your creation is not to your standard will reshape it.   Father this morning I pray that as your messenger you will allow this to be a word of Hope for a brighter future that you have planned for our country.  Make these words not my words but your words and help us all to see you Father to turn and be forgiven.  This I pray in Jesus Holy and precious name.                                                                  Amen

Today we are going to have a pottery lesson.  Actually we already had one!  Yet the lesson I am talking about is not a visitation from someone from the pottery barn but someone from the book of Jerimiah.

Now how do we know these words are from Jerimiah?  Well it begins with a word that came to Jerimiah from the Lord.

Now I don’t know if Jerimiah knows how lucky he is.  Most people can wait for a whole life time before receiving direction from the Lord.  Here God is saying if you pick yourself up, get out of your chair, and make your way down to potter’s house and there I will give you my message.

Now a quick show of hands, who would not love to hear, truly hear from the Lord what we should or should not do.  (Every hand in the congregation shot up)!  So Jerimiah when he gets this message what does he do?  Well if he was like the majority of those in the Old Testament He would ignore the call or run the opposite direction of where he was instructed to go.  Instead he does just what God’s Spirit says and travels down to the Potter’s house.

Field trip wise this is not much, if you go to the house of the potter what do you expect to see?  Well how about a potter?  Would that not kind of make sense?

So Jerimiah went down to the potter’s house, and saw him working at the wheel.

Now I don’t know how many of us have ever had the chance to see a potter working at his wheel?  Maybe we might have seen one at a renaissance fair, or if you or a family member who has it as a hobby.  Besides this it is probable you have not seen one work.    Today many pottery wheels are mechanical, but some will still use the time honored method of the Potter would have had to pump the wheel repeatedly to get it up to speed and then would plop the clay on the wheel and as it was spinning begin shaping it.

As the creator, creates there is no drawing no sketch no plan.  The only idea of what is to be created is in his mind.  The artistic vision comes from his heart but is not always immediately transferred to his hands.  As he was shaping the clay he realized his vision was not being fulfilled realizing that his creation was marred by the very hands that were creating it.  So what does the potter do?  He pounds the clay back down into a lump and spinning the wheel forming the clay into another pot shaping it as it seems best to him.  This is all well and fascinating, but what does this have to do with Jerimiah or our sermon today?

Well the connection is in the next words that the Lord shared with Jerimiah.  He asks the question can I not as the eternal potter do with you, Israel, as this potter does.  In the same way I hear the Lord asking the same question 700 years after the time of Jerimiah.  God is also asking can He not do with America what the potter does with the clay.

His creation may not be the way He wants it.  God may have to break us down in order to remold, recreate and make the artistic creation He can see in His mind.

Like clay in the hand of the Potter, we also are in His Hands.

The most incredible thing about God is that while He is eternal, he sets right and wrong and placing warnings on where we should and should not go.  As we choose to step over the line we know there will be consequences to pay.

Yet at the same time we praise God that He is not a God of wrath and judgment.  Should he be, should he want us to all fail and die he could stand back and laugh at our misfortune.  Instead He is the God of the second chance.  Let’s face it folks if we are real He is the God of third, fourth and twenty-seventh chances.

As he told Jerimiah so he is also warning us.  If at any time He announces that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation so warned repents of its evil, then God will relent and not inflict on it the disaster that He planned.  So God if He announces that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down or destroyed and if that nation is warned and turns and repents it will be spared.

This happened time and time again.  One example is that of Jonah and Nineveh.  God’s intent was to destroy the city; Jonah’s mission was to warn them, Nineveh’s mission was to repent so God could spare them.

Today we have the exact same mission and please don’t see this as us versus them or one party verses another party.   No instead I want this to be so much more.  I don’t want us to get into a situation like the Pharisee’s and the Sadducees or our modern equivalent the Democrats and the Republicans.

No this is far more than just between all of us.  This is between God and the whole of the United States of America.  God’s role is as the eternal potter putting us on the right path even if it means breaking down what we have done and rebuilding our country anew.  My role this morning is like that of Jerimiah calling out a warning to us.  After all did not God already do this with our country once?  When our country began we have laws establishing the legal status or property rights for slaves.  This God saw as a clay pot that was not to his liking.  So he used the civil war as a way to break down the country and rebuild it making slavery illegal.    So just like Nineveh, our country has a role to play.  Our mission as America is to repent so God would turn his calamity from us.

Yet at the same time If God shall announce His warning to a nation or kingdom that he is building up.  If instead of hearing the message and accepting it they turn and do evil in His sight and do not obey, He will reconsider the good He had intended to do for it.

God had one last message to share through Jerimiah “Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you.  So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’

We also receive the same instruction as Israel.  We need to begin by listening to Him and stop trying to mold God.  Stop trying to say what is or is not right, and what we should or should not do but instead look to Him and believe, seeking what He wants us to do.

In Nineveh God relented, over and over through the history of Israel they disobey and God pulls His blessing from them until the time they get new leaders and a new call to follow and they turn back to Him and receive His blessing.

Our board outside has a simple message but one that applies today.  It simply says God Bless Us Real Good!  This morning we need to take heart and receive His blessing.                             Amen