Last December I had the opportunity to learn first hand what it is like—I take that back—I was REMINDED of something I would rather not contemplate—and that is how fragile we are. How easily broken. I broke a part of me—a part I use every day—and I had to have surgery to repair it, and it has taken 6 months to begin to regain just a tiny bit of what I used to be able to do before. And the ironic thing is, when I broke it, all I was doing was something I used to do all the time! I was just playing ball in the gym. But in retrospect, I was also reminded that while participating in things I love to do, in the past I have also broken other things: teeth while playing soccer and my nose while diving, and my thumb playing football. A friend broke her wrist while we were twirling on the grass and another friend broke his knee while we were playing Red Rover. Were we more accident prone than other kids? Probably not. I guess I just have a habit of forgetting that we are fragile vessels.
And look at our media—the focus on our bodies—all the ads for products that whiten our teeth, smooth our skin, reduce our size (ahem), make us smell better (thank you), things that companies try to sell us to make us FEEL better, clothes to buy that will make us happier and like the way we look in the mirror . . . You know what I’m talking about.
All of that is because WE ARE FRAGILE VESSELS. We are easily broken, and never satisfied with them. We are incomplete on our own. We are “less than.” By design. By plan. By God’s plan.
Originally preached Sunday, June 3, 2018
Does that mean that we should stop trying to improve these vessels? An emphatic no! God designed us, made us and blessed us with a “Very Good!” My husband is a gifted physician (my evaluation) and he does everything within his wisdom and power to improve people’s health, yet he will tell people, “I only prolong the inevitable.” It is still “one out of one.”
This message is not meant to be a downer, but a call to reality—we have been entrusted with treasure—and we are the keepers. Let us make the most of our opportunity, and not mourn because it is a temporary and weak keeping place. But the TREASURE is not our bodies. They are the “thing” in which we keep that treasure—metaphor—and we care for them as best we can.
Our flesh has become the most important canvas of our culture. We wear upon them and transform them into the image of what we think good looks like.
But…what does good look like?
Paul reframes the “good” of our image into something familiar to his readers : a clay jar. He invites listeners to look around, like a manager who unlocks the doors to a showroom. This passage from 2 Corinthians prompts us to look past his shoulder and toward the potter. To redefine “good” through the handiwork of the artist who made us.
We are fragile. That is the beauty of the design—anything good that comes from us, ANYTHING GOOD that comes from us glorifies God.