18 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.
5 Then the LORD gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. Jeremiah 18: 1-6, NLT
Last Wednesday, November 9th, 2016 was a day filled with joy for some and deep mourning, sorrow and extreme disappointment for others. While that may be the case in every election in America, this time felt different. Our Nation is deeply divided. People are rioting across the country. Hate crimes are on the rise. Despair is in the air.
A member of my congregation shared that her students were raising questions about how someone who “cusses,” talks real bad about others and is a bully could become our President. Children are becoming confused about leadership and good character. Another member shared that her daughter, while pumping gas for her car at the gas station was approached by a man wearing a “Make America Great Again,” cap. She shared that he stared her daughter in the eye and declared, “Donald Trump is now the President of the United States of America. You, your family and all your kind will soon be eliminated!”
Whatever our political persuasion, we must face the reality that something very ugly, divisive and violent has been unleashed in America.
Today, one of our local clergy groups hosted a forum/panel discussion for clergy and community leaders entitled, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Leaders from across the community shared insights from scripture, history and life experiences. Questions were raised about whether or not marching and demonstrations were appropriate plans of action.
One of our “elder statesmen” and civil rights leaders shared these powerful insights…
There are several steps that civil rights leaders in the 60’s used before demonstrations:
1.Research –Information (history of the situation, previous actions and responses, precedence, outcomes…)Legitimate concerns do exist. We must, however, go about addressing those concerns in strategic, goal oriented ways.
2.Education (voter education about issues and the critical nature of voting)
3.Mobilization (“getting out the vote,” strategically placing people to peacefully confront, show civil disobedience, in various areas)
4.Preparation (Prayer, Fasting, Discipline)
5.Action (gaining and influencing seats at “the table,” moving on agreed upon strategies)
6.Negotiation (presenting requests and or demands and processing what’s possible with "the powers that be")
7.Demonstration (If none of the above work, then march…)
8.Reconciliation (strive to bring the community together through acts of love, justice, mercy and humility)
On another note, like clay in the Potter’s hand, sometimes, things have to be “smashed” so that a new and more beautiful vessel may come forth. Being on the Potter’s wheel is never easy or comfortable. After being spun, pinched, wet, gooey and reshaped, then the vessel is ultimately dried and baked. We love the beauty of the crafted vessels, but we don’t necessarily like the “beautification process.”
God always has what’s best for us in His heart. God will, at times, allow us to reap the consequences of our foolish ways. God will, at times, give us what we demand in order that we may learn the more excellent way. There is no time like the present to preach prophetically, to remind God’s people that being on the Potter’s wheel may not be easy, but if we allow it, God will get the glory out of our lives.
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,