Sermon Lent 1 – Sunday 21st February 2021

Potter and Clay

Sermon Lent 1 – Sunday 21st February 2021

Genesis 9:8-17; Psalm 25:1-9; 1 Peter 3:18-22; Mark 1:9-15

We are, I’m sure familiar, with the process shown in the picture above.

Whenever the clay falls out of shape, the Potter simply starts again – with the same clay

The Potter does not destroy or fling away the clay.

Instead, he gathers his material, the clay, back onto his spinning wheel and starts all over – to make a new thing.

That’s God! That is the real, the true nature of God. He’s a creator, a redeemer. He’s a Saviour, not a destroyer.

It’s a take on God confirmed to us in Isaiah 64.8 (MSG):

“Still, GOD, you are our Father.

We’re the clay and you’re our potter:

All of us are what you made us.”

So what does this narrative have to do with today’s Bible readings?

Well, a lot!

It’s a summary of the lesson/moral each of the readings is trying to announce to us.

Let’s start with our first reading: the story of Noah and the flood.

At first glance, it appears to be a story of great destruction!

However, a closer reading shows that the story is really about a great rescue.

The story of the flood is not an account, not a tale, about a murderous God!

We are helped into that appreciation by the writer of the letter in today’s second reading.

There the author is at pains to let us into this truth about the story of the flood. He reveals that God’s Creative agency – Jesus – is connected with that story. Jesus was available for those we imagined to have seemingly perished in the Flood.

God, he suggests, did not abandon them. Instead, he sent Jesus to redeem them from their disobedience – just as Jesus came to rescue us from our sins, our disobedience.

That’s God! That is the real, the true nature of God. He’s a creator, a redeemer. He’s a Saviour, not a destroyer.

Why do we need to be reminded of this on this first Sunday of Lent?

For the same reason, the voice from heaven announced that Jesus‘ identity immediately after his Baptism in today’s Gospel.

To remind us and affirm that whatever happens after Jesus’ baptism, and whatever course our journeys after Christ may assume, God always considers us as His beloved.

Like it was with Jesus, there will always be difficulties associated with our lives. We will all have desert experiences; there will be wilderness years.

However, what matters is that we must never forget our identity as a child of God.

We must ever remember our baptism, that we know God, that God knows us and that God loves us.

Holding on to that as our reality (not just, indeed as more than an idea) should help us cope with our difficulties, our ‘wilderness’ years.

Holding on to that reality is the moral that temptations of Jesus Christ (writ so large in Matthew and Luke’s Gospels) teach us.

No food? Hungry? – I have the Word of God. He’s enough.

No wealth? – It’s okay; I have Jesus Christ. He’s enough.

No authority or power to influence things? I have God, the Creator, the Potter, the designer and maker of all things – and what is more, He’s enough!