I've written before about our pastor, Chuck, being a former potter and the great illustrations he brings to his sermons. Today was an exceptional one. I knew we were in for something good when we walked in and this is what we saw.
He began by explaining that this clay sculpture represents him at 37 years - happy, full of knowledge, excellent potter, not a Christian. He said clay doesn't have much value, doesn't cost much, it's what the clay becomes that gives it value.
This is him after he fell flat on his face, suddenly aware of the emptiness of his life. No real value. He was humbled by this. The red paint represents his salvation.
He then began to demonstrate throwing a pot - a very physical, demanding job. The potter must be focused, must concentrate, feel for and identify any impurities in the clay and pull them out. The clay must be firmly centered (on Jesus) or it will collapse. The clay requires lots of water.
The potter pulls the clay to its maximum potential, testing to see if the clay is good and worth the effort. If so, he knocks it down and begins the second pull.
Near the end of the second pulling - the most difficult for the potter - pull too hard or too far and it may collapse. He's using a "rib" used to shape it into something beautiful.
Sometimes, it looks beautiful on the outside (as above) but is weak or full of hidden flaws or full of pride. God sees the inside; sometimes he has to break us down, cut away everything that is not of value, not serviceable. He poured the pink vase (seen in the first photo, representing the alabaster jar and the sacrifice of self) into the water bucket, then poured more red paint over the clay, again signifying the the purifying blood of Jesus, and used the "perfumed" water to rework the remaining clay and reshape it into something very serviceable. Maybe not as beautiful on the outside, but inside it is perfect.
And when he finished, it looked very serviceable indeed. He then made threw another pot while we sang a final song and reflected on all that he had told us. Powerful.