‘At the Potter’s House’ is a sermon on Jeremiah 18:1-11 (Proper 18C)
God prompts Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house promising that he will see something interesting. Jeremiah immediately discerns God’s message in what he sees.
Message at the Time
God’s message in 600BC is to a people who notionally belong to him, but worship him in name only. Instead of relying on God and being obedient to Him, they have politics, money, international trade and alliances with foreign powers. Jeremiah warns God’s people again and again, but they ignore him. They ignore all the warnings and their nation is destroyed.
Message for Today
I wonder if we would do any better today? The message is that God shapes nations and peoples as He sees fit to get the best results He can. So the first question is the best result for whom?
- Given that we worship a god of love I suppose it’s obvious we would conclude that the results would be the best for us.
- But being reshaped by the potter sounds painful doesn’t it?
- Perhaps it’s the best result for everyone for the whole nation, for the whole community.
The other question Is that how white people react to the shaping?
- Some deny that there is a god who is interested in us at all.
- Many more imagine an angry God they want to hide from – they work hard to hide from Him.
- Others will say it’s my life no one else can tell me what to do, or tell me how I should live my life.
- This is understandable, but again it denies a loving God.
- It also says more about them: “I know what’s best for me – nobody else knows me better than I do.”
- It’s an arrogant and self-centred approach; also it’s doomed to fail: do we know better than any/everyone else? Better than God?
- We’re all tempted to avoid a broader perspective, because taking the broad view might mean making personal, painful sacrifices.
Of course, we should avoid all those mistakes! We know God personally and know that he has plans to prosper His people and not to harm us. We know that we make mistakes and that we need correction. Sometimes Nations get it wrong, and ordinary people suffer the consequences – war, famine, disaster. Whatever befalls, we know a loving God who helps us to understand why these things happen. Perhaps we will even change – and be better!