Showing posts with label pot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pot. Show all posts

08 December 2011

The broken pot

A broken pot made me think about the church. Repairing the pot was tricky, but putting together the fragmented Humpty-Dumpty church in St Neots would be far, far harder.

A couple of weeks ago we had a bad storm during the night. In the morning one of the patio pots had blown over and the bay tree it contained was sprawled out horizontally. The bay was soon rescued and planted in the garden, but the pot was badly broken.

Normally I would have disposed of the pot and bought a new one. But this pot was rather special.

When Donna and I were married in 1998, our friends Tony and Faith ordered it as a wedding present. Not only was it made specially, it has our names and the date fired into the hand-decorated surface.

The pot just had to be rescued, so out came the Araldite and I spent some time yesterday glueing the shards back together. I learned a lot while doing the work.

For a start, you can't put the pieces together in a random sequence. Experiment (without glue) showed it would be easy to stick one piece back only to make it impossible to fit the next one. Also, it took gentle persuasion to get a snug fit. And I discovered that the adhesive itself takes a certain amount of space, only a little perhaps, but it mounts up and is significant towards the end.

The photos show some of my progress. The pot is now complete once more although the cracks are clearly visible. With some careful use of terracotta filler I hope to make them a lot less noticeable.

This process got me thinking about the church (something that has been on my mind a great deal recently). You see, the church is shattered and needs mending - just like our poor pot. The pieces need to be carefully fitted together. Like the pot, the church is something rather special, Jesus is not going to merely dispose of us and replace us.

Here in St Neots it's not easy even to make a proper catalogue of the pieces. There are three Anglican churches (all called St Marys just to catch the unwary). The Baptists, two Methodist congregations, Roman Catholic, the Evangelical church, United Reformed, and at least two independent groups - Open Door and River Church. Then there are the various little groups I'm involved with and very likely others I'm not aware of. And finally there will be some people who are part of a church meeting in Bedford or Cambridge or Peterborough. I know several of these but surely not all.

How can I put these parts together? I can't even draw up a full and consistent list! What would be the correct sequence? What would I use as adhesive?

Frankly, if the church in St Neots is to be mended it will take someone far, far wiser and more knowledgeable than me. Surely Jesus is the only one capable of such work? And even if I could manage to repair the church in St Neots, what about all the other towns and cities around the world, let alone the millions of small villages?

So at least we know who to look to for the answer.

I do have a sense that he has already begun this most difficult task and that he will not rest until it is completed. Wherever you live and whatever your style of church, are you ready to respond to him? Will you allow him to use you in his work of restoration?

See also:

28 October 2010

THOUGHT - Unbreaking the pot

If I drop a pot it will shatter into a thousand pieces, some of them quite large, others very small, some just the tiniest specks of dust. And what I have broken I can in no way repair.

PotsherdsI may decide to sweep up the mess and throw the remains in the bin, the broken pieces are no good for anything. If the pot has sentimental value the best I can do is gather the larger pieces and spend a while with a tube of glue. But it won't fool anyone, it will never be the same again. What was shattered in a moment cannot be mended even if I labour with adhesive for all eternity.

I'm happy to say that Papa is a whole lot cleverer than I am.

When a person is broken, shattered into a thousand disjointed shards by circumstances or by the unaware (or all too aware) actions of others, he is capable of making truly invisible repairs. He will never sweep up the mess and throw the remains in the bin. He can rebuild a person so that they are not just mended, but repaired, renewed, and fully restored.

This is a miracle, of course, but what we cannot do is possible for him. It may take much time but he is infinitely patient and he does the work with extreme care and attention, motivated by his perfect love.

He gave us free will and had his reasons for doing so. He will not prevent us from harming one another. Nor will he force restoration when we are determined to resist it. But he is a great encourager, he will leave no stone unturned, and he will never tire in his attempts to woo a broken heart or a shattered soul.

I cannot restore a broken pot to factory new condition. But he can! Just don't ask me how he will do it. I have no idea. All I know is that he reaches out to every one of us in ways we can respond to - even when we believe we can't. Sometimes people say, 'Oh, I understand, I know how you feel', when in truth they have no idea at all. But he does understand.

Mags posted something special and touching yesterday. As I read it tonight I saw a picture of a broken pot. I understood that nobody can restore a broken pot and nobody can restore a broken person. And in that moment I knew I must write about the broken pot.

A pot may have all kinds of functions. It might contain something precious like the jar of nard (John 12:3). But a broken pot can contain - nothing! Restored, it can again contain something precious.

The jar of nard was made to be deliberately broken to release the precious contents - but broken at the right moment and in the right way. The jar was not made to be carelessly dropped, trampled underfoot, or hurled against a wall in anger.

There are two kinds of brokenness. There is the empty brokenness of damage and there is the brokenness of sacrifice. They should never be confused. We must first be restored so that we can contain a treasure, and then we can be broken in a pure, fulfilling, and purposeful way. Broken for glory, broken to bless others, broken to release the treasure contained within us.

How great is the One who restores us, fills us, and shows us how we can be broken for glory and for blessing to release a treasure. He is the treasure! The enemy wants to break us by crushing us, but Abba will break us by loving us. Our breaking will be beautiful like a fragrant flower breaking from the bud or a butterfly breaking from the pupa.


See also:


21 June 2006

Eaton Ford - Dragonfly and pot

< 13th June 2006 | Index | 28th June 2006 >

We heard about the Bromsgrove meeting, some family news, life after death, a broken pot, and a geyser.

A dragonflyChris shared some details of the previous weekend's conference at Bromsgrove, and especially Andy White's little cards which he gives out to people when he buys them coffee or pays their parking fee. These form a point of contact, they break the British reserve and allow people to get in touch with Andy later if they want to. What a wonderful idea!

Rachael shared some exciting news from her son Tom. He'd dreamed that he was in heaven and was greatly struck by the bright light, great joy, and a sense of purity. He'd texted the details to Rachael and then later texted her again to ask how he should go about finding forgiveness. This is just amazing! We prayed for Tom, something is clearly happening in his life!

Di wondered if people who've died can speak to us in our dreams. Chris was sure they could not, but that there are reasons why we might think that they do. In the end this question was left open, although we noted that the Bible strongly opposes deliberate attempts to 'contact' the dead.

Pottery bowlJohn shared a delightful illustration of the principal of our present earthly lives and future heavenly ones, told to him long ago but never forgotten. Dragonfly nymphs live under water until they pupate and finally emerge, climb a reed or stem, wait for their wings to expand and dry, and then fly off as graceful adult dragonflies.

The story involves two dragonfly nymphs who wonder where fully grown nymphs go. They made a pact, whichever of them matured first would come back and get a message to the other one explaining what happened, where they went, and what it was like.

Time passed until one of the nymphs was mature and nature took its course. The nymph pupated and re-emerged as an adult dragonfly. Flying above the water he was able to see his old friend below, but realised there was no way he could get a message back to the old world below the water. And his old friend below didn't even seem to be aware of him flying by above the water.

Chris had a picture of a broken pot and said that there are two ways of mending it. The way we would try is to find the right kind of adhesive (does it need to be waterproof, withstand heat, etc), buy the adhesive and then glue the pieces back together. But in the vision the pot was not just glued back together, it was actually made new, it was turned back into an unbroken pot. Like the pot, we were broken people, but have not just been mended, we have been made totally new.

Rachael saw a picture too, a huge, hot geyser with the water falling down; so large that droplets were landing as far as hundreds of miles away, and falling onto people and making them wet. She also saw a spiritual 'earthquake' in which a mighty slab of brilliant light collided with a slab of darkness and overcame it. There were loud and continuing earthquakes during the collision.

< 13th June 2006 | Index | 28th June 2006 >

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