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Jeremiah 18:1-11


Master Potter, re-make us new and lively,
to be your people this day. Amen

Welcome to Creation Time, within the season of Pentecost.
A rather new season named in our Liturgical year,
Creation Time helps us to place ourselves in the midst of creation,
as a full participant and in relationship with all things.

In this season, we will also look at the role of Sabbath in our lives.
Sabbath as a time... not a day. An event, not a date.

I wonder if Jeremiah rested in God.
Being a Prophet to a headstrong group of people was not easy.

Jeremiah would have been familiar with the teaching of Sabbath,
but I do not know how that would have been practised in Jeremiah’s day.

Today, Sunday is the modern-day Sabbath.
We are here today... so we have remembered.
Does that mean we are keeping it Holy?

When my children were teenagers,
and they heard me talk about keeping Sabbath,
they asked me how that worked
when I worked every Sunday?

It was a good question.

I had learned that Sabbath was a state... not a date.
Working most Sundays, I had to find other days to keep the Sabbath.

We all need to hold Sabbath, but when and how,
is different for each of us.

And... how we hold and honour Sabbath has changed over the years.

Some of you may remember your early Sundays,
to be times with family.
No chores, no games... especially no playing cards,
no movies, lots of time for reading and Sunday drives.

Our Sunday drives when I was a child, were adventures,
as we never knew where we would end up.
My Mom or Dad, would simply drive and never have a destination.

Yet... because my Grandmother would join us, we all knew,
that after an hour or so, Gram would casually say:
“I wonder if we might find some ice cream somewhere?”

I am not sure, I understood that we were holding Sabbath,
but I did understand that Sundays were special.

Ideas about Sabbath may have changed,
but our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional
need for Sabbath... has not.

Holding, or keeping Sabbath is a gift,
not a duty... yet some of us need to be reminded of this gift.

With all the changes in society's rhythms and priorities,
I know that taking a whole day as Sabbath is just not going to happen.

I would still recommend it...
but I understand most will not see that as practical.

Yet we can still honour Sabbath, and still keep Sabbath Holy.
It might last only an hour, or even just 10 minutes,
but an intentional time of Sabbath is possible,
and will bless you in so many ways.

It might be ten minutes of intentional deep breathing.
It might be a weekly 20 minutes of silence.
Perhaps it is reading to a child each evening.

Many of you have regular practices such as these, or others.
Name the practice as keeping Sabbath,
and it will change you, offer you a deeper blessing.

Remember the Sabbath and keep it Holy.

Jeremiah is sent by God to the potter's house, to watch.
The potter was working at his wheel.

Jeremiah sees clay being worked and reworked.
Clay in the potter’s hands.

Often when I come to this Table,
or some table like it and see bread and juice of the vine;
when I come to the Table, I feel like a piece of clay
being re-made by the great, mysterious potter
I call God….. the Holy One.

And .... even if it is just for a moment,
I wonder if I am worthy of being a part of this feast,
because I know my failings all too well.

And then, then I remember the words of Psalm 139
and give thanks that God has searched me and knows me …
and that because of God's love,
I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Jeremiah found the message of God ...
the message of peace and forgiveness,
in the hands of a potter.

The potter was already at work when Jeremiah walked into his studio.
He sat with his hands shaping the clay as the wheel spun,
but the clay spoiled in the potter's hands.

If you have never seen a potter work with clay at a wheel,
just imagine soft wet clay spinning in a perfect circle in your hands.

It feels wonderful... almost magical.
But if you stop paying attention to the balance of pressure you exert...
the circle collapses, the shape is spoiled, the vessel ruined.

So as Jeremiah watched, the potter started again,
reworking the clay into another vessel, as seemed good to him.

Our text would have us think that Jeremiah heard God speak again,
right there in the potter's workshop;
but I wonder if he might have headed home,
pondering all he saw and heard.

I wonder if back in the comfort of his home,
away from the bustle of the town square, where likely the potter worked,
if Jeremiah didn’t wonder why God had sent him to the potter.

Jeremiah would not be surprised that he was to speak harshly
to the people about their sins... he had done that many times before.

This obedient Prophet would once again tell the people to:
“ .... Turn now, all of you from your evil way,
and amend your ways and your doings.”

What a beautiful metaphor ... God holding the ‘house of Israel’
to be re-worked in Holy hands.

God re-shaping a nation in such a personal and caring way.

There are days when I would welcome ‘re-shaping' by God,
and times when I need to let my whole being simply rest in God.

It is at those times that I lean into one of my Sabbath practices.
I have shared this practice with you many times.

Breathing... deep breathing in and out.

Many of you know that I cracked a rib... 19 days ago now.

My breathing changed because it hurt to breathe.
Yet I was told to continue deep breathing to maintain healthy lungs,
at risk of getting pneumonia when one has injured ribs.

It seemed like a paradox...
deep breathing being an important spiritual practice,
now caused me pain...

yet I was encouraged to regularly breathe deeply,
for my physical health.

It may hurt to breathe... but it hurts more
when I forget the blessing of keeping Sabbath.

So I lean more into God and
I am held... as I breathe.

And the breath of God
makes me ... whole.

The breath of God...
helps us to love what God loves,
and to find the sacred in Holy practices of Sabbath.