There is a story about a man who earned his living carrying water from the river up the hill to the village. He carried the water in a two clay pots suspended by ropes attached to either end of a yoke across his shoulders. Every day for many years he would go to the river, filled his pots with water and then carry them up to the village, often making as many as 15 or 20 trips a day.
Then one day an amazing thing happened. As he was getting ready to fill the pots with water, one of them spoke to him. The pot began to apologize profusely, because this pot had a crack in it and for all those years had been leaking water on every trip. The pot was saddened by the realization that its failing had caused the man to make hundreds if not thousands of additional troops over the years.
The man, who amazingly enough was not surprised to hear a pot talking to him, replied that he had always known this pot had a crack in it and that it was leaking water. He then pointed to the path they had walked so many times together. The left side of the path was mostly bare earth, with the occasional patch of scraggly grass. However, on the other side grass grew abundantly along with many brightly colored flowers. That very thing that the pot saw as a flaw, leaking water along the path, was responsible for all of this beauty.
Thinking about that story reminded me of the beautiful stained-glass windows in the sanctuary. All glass starts out the same, clear and transparent. The thing that adds color to the glass is the chemicals that are added at the time the glass is made. Technically, these extra chemicals that are added as the glass is made are impurities, some might even say flaws, and yet it is the very thing that gives the glass its color and character.
Stained-glass windows get their beauty from the artful way in which the artist combines the different shaped pieces of glass in all their many colors. Together they become much more than they were individually, and so it is with us a nation and as the Church.
Like the water carrier’s clay pot, each of us has flaws and cracks. The story reminds us that while flawed and cracked, we are also the beloved child of God. Flaws and all, there is a part for us in God’s continuing act of creation. Some preach, teach Sunday school, others bake casseroles, mow the grass or mop the floors, and the list goes on to include everyone.
In closing let me share a couple lines from a great song called, “All God’s Creatures.”
“All Gods’ creatures got a place in the choir/ Some sing low and some sing higher./ Some sing out loud on the telephone wire. /Some just clap their hands or paws/or anything they’ve got now.”
John R. Fowler. John is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.