Kleipot Gemeente/ Clay pot community
That’s the metaphor our community chose. It’s derived from Paul’s words in second Corinthians; we carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. We used our gathering on the weekend to unpack the use of clay, clay pots and potters in the Bible. Lollie and I planned a cool service with some great worship songs, poignant visuals and a solid liturgy. Then God intervened.
Late Saturday evening we found at that we won’t worship with accompaniment of guitars. We were a little bummed and decided to worship using silence and loud prayers. When we arrived at our meeting place, the multi-media didn’t work. It was another bummer for us. Our script was being rearranged, and suddenly our service was reduced to something very ordinary, unadorned if you will. During the silence I had to relinquish the picture perfect plan and embrace the brokenness of our situation. It dawned on me how appropriate it all was – we are after all ‘just’ clay pots.
Then God showed up. He filled our broken pot with His splendor. He was there! The focus was on Him and not on funky graphics or butter smooth liturgy.
The pot pictured above has a story. Last week, in preparation for the service, we decided to buy a clay pot as a visual for the weekend. Our budget is tight and I looked all over for a cheap pot. I found none. Clay pots are ridiculously expensive. I almost despaired and then I found the right one. It stood next to a faucet at the garden shop. It was half filled with mud and full of water. The sides were chipped and it showed some cracks. I haggled with the owners and they sold it for $4. When our group walked in on Sunday they saw our imperfect pot and some mentioned the cracks. ‘Couldn’t we find a better one?’
A perfect reminder that we’re not perfect. Dieterich Bonhoeffer wrote this about the church;
“He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, not withstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship do not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!”
We discussed the dangers involved in mixing the metaphor. The apostle Paul tells us that Christ is the treasure and we are the clay plot. It is so easy to make us the treasure, the be all and end all.
We ended our service with a violent liturgy. It entailed placing the clay pot in a bag and smashing it on the concrete floor. Everyone in our community took a shattered piece. All of us will write a prayer on the potsherd and on Wednesday we will glue the pot back together. It will serve as a reminder of our brokenness and God our treasure.