I'm pondering the contrasts among our readings this week--they emphasize both the importance of our own choices and actions AND the power God has in the world.
Jeremiah speaks in the metaphor of a potter's work: God is the potter and we, God's people, are the clay. We are reworked in God's hands. God is doing the shaping. (Although, of course, it's still clear in Jeremiah that we have personal choice, too--we are invited to turn to God, to prevent our destruction.)
Jesus, in Luke, offers difficult and extreme words that challenge us to give up the things we are attached to. Our families, all our possessions. If we are to follow Jesus, it means we must be willing to undertake big changes.
It strikes me as a bit more than ironic that these are the lectionary passages given for this Sunday at the beginning of the fall, which our congregation has designated as "open house" Sunday. When we're to talk about the importance of inviting others to join us, and welcoming them in. These lessons aren't exactly, well, easy.
Maybe it's good truth in advertising. Sometimes, we seek to be so welcoming that we dilute the radical messages that come through Christ. There IS something wild and crazy that happens when you welcome God into your life. (I don't want to sound like a fundamentalist here, but there's gotta be room for some good radicalism...)
Perhaps it's a good thing to remember that being a part of "church" does mean something--and not just that you don't sleep in as long on Sunday mornings, or that you know some swell people who you get to check in with regularly. Maybe being a part of church invites us to choose letting ourselves be reshaped. In incredible ways.
I've never been fabulous at pottery, though I have always enjoyed the feeling of damp clay in my hands; it speaks of abounding possibilities. At least, it speaks of possibilities as long as it's wet enough. When it dries, it starts cracking and slowly becomes hopeless.
Maybe that's what "church" is about for me--helping me stay Spirit-filled enough to be full of possibilities. Helping me bear just enough water that I can be molded into fabulous things.
I hope you'll come join us this week, as we ponder these things. And, as we pray and sing and share communion. I trust they'll give us enough of the Spirit to fill our community with possibility.