Well how does the clay feel about being reshaped? What is the response of the nation to hearing Jeremiah calling them to be smashed down and reformed? And since we are the clay how do we respond?
These passages tell us that God has shaped and is reshaping us. DO we really believe that? One of the myths of North American life is that if the self-made man. THere is this image of the person who is his or her own creation. To say the least this is misguided, in fact it goes directly against Scripture, as these passages point out. The life of faith requires us to remember that we are creations of the Creator -- which is both a scary and a revitalizing thought.
This reading from Jeremiah can be terrifying. It describes a God who, when the nation (or the church?) is not being shaped as God hopes, smashes them down. But at the same time it tells of a God who doesn't give up, who keeps trying to reshape and reform us. We'll come back to that.
--Priestly vs. Deuteronomic theology of the land
--reusing clay, even when dried can be soaked and made pliable, sometimes the reworked clay makes the best pot, clay can be reworked multiple times
--no such thing as a "perfect pot", no two pieces of real pottery are the same, all have small "imperfections"
--pottery is a messy business
--potter as "co-creator" with the clay
--sometimes the reworked clay can look nothing like the first try
--reshaping the nation
--needs some soaking, softening for preparation
--also a messy business
--are we willing to allow it?
--Potter adn clay as co-Creators
God is at work reforming and reshaping us for a new age. That is a sign of hope. It may be painful. It may be hard to allow. So how are we being reshaped? Will we recognize the reshaped clay? ANd really, how does the clay feel about it???