JEREMAIAH 18;1-6 ; MATTHEW 13:47-53

Like Clay In The Hand Of A Potter, So Are You In My Hands

LIKE CLAY IN THE HAND OF A POTTER, so are you in my hands, house of Israel.  These words of the prophet Jeremiah provide a penetrating insight into the mysterious relation of God to His creation.  Saint Paul was careful to underline the fact that God who created the whole of the universe continues to be actively engaged in its continuance.  A feature of the whole of creation is its continuing dependence upon God's sustaining presence.  God's resting on the seventh day does not mean inaction and withdrawal from the works of his power-filled Word.  There is nothing in God that is passive, in the sense of inactivity.  Like all the other attributes ascribed to God his seventh day rest is of a transcendent nature.  As characterizing the Divine nature, the rest ascribed to God in the first chapter of Genesis does not imply any limit to His nature or change in His essence; nor does His rest entail withdrawal, as the word suggests when applied to creatures.  Even when God can rightly be said to rest, he remains actively engaged, though in a manner distinct from the activity of original creation.  In his Epistle to the Colossians the Apostle to the Gentiles states the matter by way of citing an ancient Christian hymn as follows:  "all things are created through him and in him.  He existed before all things, and in him all things have their unity." (Col. 1:16-17)  This being the case, all that is- matter and the living person as well- remains what it is because sustained by God in existence.  The many miracles Jesus worked demonstrate this same power in action.

In the concluding observation that Jesus makes after speaking in parables of the ways of God, our Lord indirectly informs us concerning his own manner of treating Scripture for he himself acted in the manner of the scribe of whom he speaks in today's Gospel.  He explained that "Every scribe instructed in the Kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household who brings forth from his storeroom both the new and the old."  This describes well his manner of dealing with the Old Testament.  He built on the revelation to Moses while leaving aside many of its specific legal teachings.  He focused rather on such elements as love of God and of neighbor, stressing rather the primacy of interior attitudes and motivation.  In doing so he transformed the earlier revelation, infusing it with a fresh spirit.

At this Eucharist through communion with the risen Lord Jesus we are given a share of the living fulfillment of the promise, hidden in the Old Testament and now revealed in the New.  In some mysterious way then we here are made beneficiaries of the Jesus, serving as "the head of the household who brings from his storeroom both the new and the old".  Like the clay in the hands of the Divine potter may we be transformed by his active presence among us into the likeness of the beloved Son.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger