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Pastor’s Pen January 13, 2016

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us…so do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day.” 2 Corinthians 4:7 adapted

         Georgia O’Keefe made famous the many-layered hues of the southwest, and the sanctuary we know as Ghost Ranch in northern New Mexico. It was there that I learned to fire hand-hewn pots out of micaceous clay, glittering in composition and smoky of finish. As soon as we removed the pots from the sawdust fire pit, we threw horsehair clipped from a stallion’s mane onto the burning bowls, tattooing jagged flashes across their red-hot surface. These prayer bowls seemed precious, whole and beautiful, filled with light from the desert sanctuary from which they were born.

         For years these prayer bowls graced the back rail of my porch, reminding me of the treasure of each new day, the light of Christ held there, expansive and available. And then it happened one gusty day, a swift down-burst pitching the bowls out into the air before hurling them two stories down to certain destruction.

         Each time I tell of it, I grieve anew, recalling their stunning shards littering the lawn. But then it happened. The best pot broke cleanly in lines across the top, as if pumpkin carved by a Master’s hand. A fierce split cleaved the side, but the vessel held. Unable now to hold water, I returned it with regret to it’s rightful altar. It was then that I learned what I should have known all along. It is not the vessel that held the light, but the other way around. The light shined ever more brightly through that irreparable crack at next morning’s light.

         The transcendent power of God shines through our willing vessels, cracked or perfect, battered or new. If loving God teaches us anything, perhaps it is that as long as we have life or breath, God finds fresh ways to make useful these earthen vessels every morning.

Prayer: May it be so this day, that you O God, find some use for this cracked and broken life, road weary and wanting. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace,

Pastor Verlee