Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the Hands of the Potter (Is.64:8)

S‑1082 11/30/2008 1SIA/3B Hymns: (O)#57 vv 1-4; (S) 56; L.S. #58; #59; #95; #57 vv 5-7

Texts: Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10

Theme: “In the Hands of the Potter” (Isaiah 64:8)


Question: “How artistic are you?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen! Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Old Testament Lesson: “But now, O LORD, You are our Father;
we are the clay, and You are our POTTER; we are all the work of Your hand”
(Isaiah 64:8).

Saints in Christ, I love to work with my hands. I love to go to the shop and take either wood or metal and create something beautiful out of it. Creating something is truly an art that makes you feel good and proud to accomplish it. And then it is even more blessed when you give that special creation to someone you love.

You too, are gifted by God. As your pastor I have seen some of your handy works. Some of you do wonderful things with many different items—building, sowing, painting, writing poetry, cooking and crocheting. We use our hands to do many things that bring us pleasure. And some of us love to give these things away.

More often than not though, we are too proud of what we have done. We say look at my accomplishments. In itself this is not bad. It is good to take pride in the work you are doing. But to be truthful pride gets in the way and we think we can do anything and that we can take the place of God.

In today’s text Isaiah confronts us with a wonderful message that we need to hear and heed. Listen again to Isaiah “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our POTTER; we are all the work of Your hand”

You and I are the works of God’s hands. He is the Potter, and we are the clay. He is not just any kind of Potter, but He is our Father—a loving and enduring Father that wants what is best for us. He is our Creator who created the world and everything in it. He is the One who stooped low and fashioned man from the dust of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life. He is the One who set the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. He is the One who made the dry land. But let us not forget that we are the work of Master’s hands. He is the One who formed us with His loving hands. This is how David tells us about this marvelous Potter: “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well” (Psalm 139:13-14).

So why did the Potter make us? What is the reason for keeping us? Let us look at another portion of the Word of God also by Isaiah. “…Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of My planting, the work of My hands, that I might be glorified” (Is. 60:21). Did you hear it? We are the work of God’s own hands to bring the glory and the splendor due His name. Yes, you and I are called as His beloved children to use our hands to let the whole world know what Christ has done for us and continue to do for us our Potter Father. PAUSE.

But the problem is we don’t. We use our hands to kill and destroy. We use our hands to rob and hurt others. (Case in point) In New York on Black Friday 11/28 a Wal-mart worker was killed Friday when “out of-control” shoppers desperate for bargains broke down the doors at a 5:a.m. sale. Other workers were trampled as they tried to rescue the man, and customers shouted angrily and kept shopping when store officials said they were closing because of the death, police and witnesses said. A shopper said, “I can’t believe humans can be so savage”.

We use our hands to build our own gods in our imaginations. As Isaiah says, “Their land is filled with idols; they bow down to the work of their hands, to what their own fingers have made” (Is. 2:8). These gods can’t save us. They have mouth but don’t speak. They have ears but don’t hear. They have eyes but don’t see. These are the idols we make. We fashion out of wood, copper, metal or any other items. We rely on these gods to save us and make us happy but they don’t. PAUSE.

It’s easy to desire power and prestige. We like to be recognized and to think we are in control. We want to do the work—even the work of God—and get the credit for it. Do we try to control God’s hands? Absolutely!

How sad that we fall into thinking that we can save ourselves and we don’t need God any longer. We try to make ourselves righteous before God. But all our righteous acts are like filthy rags in the sight of God. We have reached such technological heights that we put God on a shelf and attempt to make our salvation the work of our hands. We even pride ourselves in our accomplishments.

I am reminded of a story that I read sometimes back. Some scientists came to God one day and said, “We don’t need you anymore God! We can do everything that You have done and even better. We can even make man now a day!” “Interesting!” God said. Then God said, “Show me.” The scientist went to the laboratory and began to assemble some of the materials they have. God interrupted them and said, “You make your own stuff!”

Let us not forget dear friends that we are the clay He is the Potter. He is our Father. He rules and reigns as He pleases. He is our Creator. He is the Master Craftsman. He is the One who does all things for us even today.

Where would we be without God’s hands that formed man from the ground, that held back the waters of the Red Sea, that buried Moses on the mountain, that wrote messages on walls? What could we do without His hands that touched deaf ears so they could hear His name and hope-filled message; hands that blessed bread, fish and children; hands that wiped away the tears of others as well as His own; and hands that were nailed down and three days later rolled away a boulder that covered His grave of death and turning it into a place of life and light.

Where would we be without Him or His hands? We wouldn’t have hands or hand-outs, hand-me-downs or handfuls of blessings. Without our glorious God, we wouldn’t be handy with tools or handily with games.

It is these hands of the Potter/Father who began the new work in us by the sending of His Son, Jesus into the flesh to redeem us with His hands. With these hands He washed the feet of the disciples. With these hands He reached out and healed a woman from sickness and on the night of His betrayal He reached out with His hands and instituted a covenant of forgives in the Holy meal and on that same night He allowed His hands to be nailed to a cross. These are the hands of the Potter Your Father whose love embraces you, humbles you so that you may not experience His wrath but His love, not the punishment of hell, but the pleasures of heaven.

What kind of Father do you have? He is the Potter who molds you, fashions you and blesses you to be a blessing to others. Amen.

Now the peace…

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