With Father’s Day last week no doubt many fathers received home-made gifts from their children.
Whether it was macaroni glued to paper with some sparkles on it or maybe something a little bit more complex – no father goes through and analyses it to point out errors.
You didn’t spell Father correctly – your drawing of me has the wrong colour hair – the thing you built me is a little bit flimsy.
No, we love them because our children made them.
And they too are so proud of what they made and would be devastated if the following day or week they found that you had thrown their creation in the bin or shoved it into a draw.
“Didn’t you like what I made for you” would be evident on their sad little face.
If you saw the same thing at someone else’s place made by someone else’s child you’d probably laugh at it.
In our Old Testament reading we see a story of God the creator at work using the image of a potter moulding a piece of clay.
God sends Jeremiah to the potters house because he wants to teach him about his relationship with the people he has created – firstly the Nation of Israel – but also us.
Jeremiah went down to the potter’s house, and there he saw the potter working at his wheel.
The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
What Jeremiah observed here was that the potter didn’t throw out the vessel or get angry and pound his fist into the clay and curse it when he notices something wrong with it.
No, he gently works with the clay and remoulds it.
What God is teaching Jeremiah here is a lesson on how God works with us.
None of us are perfect – we all have our flaws and faults.
Some of them have occurred through birth.
Some of them have occurred because of the way we have lived our lives.
Some of them have occurred as a natural part of our advancement in years.
I’m sure that there are very few who look in the mirror and say – wow – you’re perfect in every way.
We find our faults and sadly in today’s world we don’t know how to deal with our faults and flaws.
Even more sad is we don’t know how to deal lovingly with other people’s faults and flaws.
We judge ourselves and we judge others.
We discard ourselves and we discard others.
We try to find ways to hide our flaws and faults so others don’t see them.
And many times we do that by pointing out other people’s faults and flaws so they look at them rather than us.
Everything has to be perfect in today’s society.
We see the photo-shopped pictures of celebrities and believe that we too should have that image.
And if we don’t get enough “likes” on our photos on social media we get depressed.
If someone makes a comment we don’t like on one of our pictures we “unfriend” them.
We are living in a very superficial age where vanity has taken over people’s lives and they feel that they have nothing to live for once their looks fade.
But the beauty of life is that God never looks upon us like that.
And that’s because God is the potter who created us.
And when he looks at us he sees himself because we are created in the Image of God.
So to reject us or to criticise us he would be criticising and rejecting himself.
And God wants us to see ourselves in that way – as created in his image even though we aren’t perfect.
We have our faults and our flaws but we have been created by God.
We might not understand sometimes why God has created me in this way or allowed something to happen but we trust God that he loves us as our creator and doesn’t discard us because of our faults.
Sometimes life changes for us whether it’s through ageing, sickness or an accident and we start to question our value in life.
But God – as seen in the potter example – reshapes us for his good purpose.
It might not have been an intended situation as God never causes pain or suffering for anyone but he will continue to use us and mould us in his own special way.
And we might not even know how God is using us – and that’s what we call faith.
That’s what Jeremiah saw: he reworked the clay into another vessel, as seemed good to him.
God never discards anyone.
We might discard ourselves or others but God never will.
He treasures everyone.
He doesn’t see the faults or the flaws but loves what he has created.
And there’s the challenge for us too.
To see the faults and flaws and differences in others and ourselves as part of the creativity of God.
To understand that God is the creator.
And even if they might be things we disagree with the challenge is to still see and accept people as children of God.
That’s not to say God has specifically created a person with that fault or flaw but that he does not reject them but continues to love them and use them in ways we don’t always see or understand.
Some people may use that as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour – God made me this way – but that is for God to judge and deal with.
Jeremiah was sent by God to watch and observe the potter in action who never rejected his creation even with the faults in it but continued to work with it – reshaping it into a vessel he would continue to love and use for his good purposes.
He didn’t send Jeremiah to judge or criticise the work of the potter but to see the potter at work creating his masterpiece.
And so we are called to see ourselves and others as works of God as St Paul so beautifully puts it in Ephesians Chapter 2 – For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
So may you see yourself and others as God’s masterpieces and remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and God is the one who created us and beholds us dear to his heart.