Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan
GREAT LENT: DAY 33
“I am the Lord that created you. What excellent thing have I prepared as clay of the potter? Does the clay say to the one who fashions it, “What are you making”? or “Your work has no handles?”” Isaiah 45:8-9
In the Holy Scriptures, the potter and clay metaphors appear often, especially, to describe God and His works. For example, in the Book of Genesis, in the creation story, we read: “Then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground.” (Genesis 2:7) God created Adam from the soil of the earth, gave form and shape to humankind, and through His breath animated the human being and gave life to them.
This imagery of the potter and the clay is a way to remind us that our lives are in the hands of God. God is the expert Potter and Creator. We are clays in the hands of God, and our lives are the potter’s wheel. In the words of Apostle Paul, He is able to form us into “special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Timothy 2:21)
In a way, the different circumstances and changes surrounding us become God’s hands and fingers in shaping our lives. He uses these to give definition and shape to our lives, as the potter to the clay. God as a skilled Potter knows exactly how much pressure to use and precisely where that pressure ought to be focused on. He knows when to soften His hands to achieve the levelness and smoothness in us, so that He may fashion us to be the vessels for the works that He has prepared for us to do.
There may be times when God as a skilled Potter takes us through the furnace, where the fire forms us to become firm and impermeable vessels. God allows us to go through difficulties and struggles so that through them we may mature, grow, and strengthen, to resemble and imitate the image of Christ. When you are passing through the fire of the furnace do not fear and do not despair because “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son.” (Romans 8:28-29)
Pottery made of the clay itself is not as valuable, but that pottery holds could be of significant value. As Apostle Paul says, “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:6-7)
God takes us through the fire to make our faith firm and patience secure, to turn us into impermeable vessels in order to fill us with His only begotten Son’s radiant light. He also promises to fill us with His Holy Spirit where we will bear much fruit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Grigor Narekatsi reminds us: “And however virtuous we might be judged on this account when we arise with the Spirit, we should bear in view that we are made of humble clay.” (Grigor Narekatsi, Book of Lamentations, 86)
Therefore, come and let us accept and be obedient to God’s power and providence, becoming part of His divine plan. With patience and perfect obedience let us allow God to finish the work which He has begun in us; making us honorable vessels, sanctified, and useful for our Lord.