for Sunday, September 8, 2013
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
16th Sunday after Pentecost
lectionary focus: Jeremiah 18:1-11
prop: If you are able and if you are very brave, have a small ball of clay for each child (and adult!). Be sure to have water or hand-wipes for hand-washing. And if you do this, prepare for this sermon to take a bit longer…
We are each artists! Yes, we are artists because each of us creates beautiful things for the world. Some of us are painters. Some of us writers, or drawers, or singers, or dancers, or actors, or builders, or even sports artists or math artists. Art is making something beautiful that also makes us think and feel. And when we do our art, we use many different tools. Painters uses brushes and canvases and paint and water. Singers use their voices and music and words and instruments. Quarterbacks uses footballs and pads and fields. And scientists use computers and beakers and Bunsen burners.
In our Bible story today, the prophet Jeremiah describes God as an artist, in particular, a potter. A potter is an artist who works with clay to make bowls and cups and plates. No, God doesn’t directly make bowls and cups and plates, but yes, God is an artist because He creates beautiful things for the world. God creates the mountains and trees and flowers…and us. God uses many tools for his art: rocks and dirt and leaves and smiles and love. God guides us to be beautiful! Each of us is a unique, artistic creation by God.
To help you remember the story of Jeremiah describing God as an artist, I have for you each a small ball of clay. My helpers will hand one to you. Take it and roll it in your hand. Feel how smooth it is. It is slightly sticky and moist. Now take it and pull it with your fingers. Stretch it out kind of flat and then cup it around your elbow. And get the clay to make a little bowl…an elbowl. (Add instructions as needed.) And remember that when an artist makes a mistake…wait…artists don’t make mistakes! I know, I know, sometimes your art doesn’t look or sound or feel like what you think it should. But when that happens, the artist in you pushes that hiccup and guides your creation back to where it will be beautiful. And the artist in you will smile at that little twist in your work that makes your work unique. And when you smile, remember that God, too, smiles at the beautiful creation that you are.
You can keep this clay and your elbowl. When you have it set, leave it for a few days and it will dry. Then you can use it to hold little things like marbles or rings or dreams or prayers.
Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
You are a great artist!
for creating me.
Help me to be
Your beautiful creation
that makes You smile.
We are not Christians alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.