Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


In the story of Jeremiah, God wants to illustrate a point to his people by using a metaphor of an earthenware jug. God asks Jeremiah to take this piece of pottery and break it in front of his audience. Obviously the jug shatters into millions of pieces illustrating that God will break this people and this city (Jerusalem). Interestingly enough, Jeremiah's audience includes the leaders of the temple as well as the city (senior priests and elders of the people).

My parallel is this: Are we, as pastor or members of our community, broken? It seems as though our culture (especially the South) urges us to hide our faults and put up a front that says "Everything is fine and great with me." I truly believe that this "hidden brokenness" is what evades true community, whether that be in our families, peer groups, work places or religious establishments. And community is hindered especially when the "leaders" of these groups is the one that promotes this facade.

In regarding this position, Euguene Peterson says that this brokenness is not to be avoided. It is our culture that places this "success" on pastors, whether that is growing a church or having the right techniques to do so. Peterson says the catch is: all the stories of spiritual leadership that we have in our scriptures are failures. Just look at Isaiah and how God asks him to preach to the Israelites for his whole life, but he won't see any effect on what he does. That is failure in our culture's eyes. We have to be ready for failure in their eyes. If not, then we are seduced by culture to being "religious." And once we have been that broken clay jar, then we can allow God to reshape a mosaic that includes ourselves but also our fellow brothers and sisters.