I don’t know about you, but I’ve been loving the recent series of the Great Pottery Throwdown. As some of you know, Trevor and I have a bit of a thing for contemporary ceramics, and so this series is just up our street.
In each of the previous series, the episode when we witness the contestants pit firing their creations, is always a very dramatic one, and this year’s was no disappointment. Once their pots have been part fired, the potters apply their glazes, and all sorts of weird and wonderful creative concoctions, to decorate their ceramics, and into the fire they go. As you can see from the picture above, it’s not for the fainthearted.
And out of the crucible, in which they are heated to the most extraordinary temperatures, can come the most beautiful colours and textures, almost unimaginable compared to what went into the flames.
In Lent we are brought back to the theme of the desert time and time again. With stories of Jesus and John the Baptist, we are reminded of the centrality of desert symbolism in Christianity, and also signposted to the very beginnings of the Church In the Old Testament stories of Abraham and the prophets, women and men who preceded the New Testament, all hewn and smelted in the crucible of the desert.
And the desert is a crucible. For us, still today, in this holy season of Lent, we are invited to consider the invitation to enter the desert ourselves.
For each of us this desert will be different and unique, although the common characteristic is that it will be a place where we are asked to let of go of all those things we cling on to for security, in order that we may hold on to God more fully, and experience that he is always holding on to us in every moment of our lives.
So easily we can allow position, or money, or pride to be what we hold on to most tightly, not realising that if we can just let go a little bit, God has much that is new in store for us.
What that will be like is uncertain of course: just like the potter does not know what colours the rather drab looking glazes may be transformed into, neither do we know what the crucible of the desert may be waiting to transfigure us into. All we know is that, with God’s help, and a bit of trust on our part, it will be beyond our wildest dreams.
your Son battled with the powers of darkness,
and grew closer to you in the desert:
help us to use these days to grow in wisdom and prayer
that we may witness to your saving love
in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With the assurance of my prayers