Daily Hymn Project: Pentecost Edition. Week 2, Jeremiah 18:1-10

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I (Cabe) have a distinct memory of the choir at the church I grew up in singing the song "Spirit of the Living God." I don't remember when or how often they would sing it, but I do remember this simple prayer floating gently from their voices and into my ears - and heart. This song is a prayer for the fresh action of God's Spirit to work in us and on us, and even through us. That makes it a great song to accompany you and your family through the month of May, the month when Pentecost often occurs.

Pentecost is both the day we celebrate the gift of the Spirit and mark the beginning of the church. A lot of congregations will read the story of Acts 2 this year on May 20 and hear how the Spirit first descended on those gathered in Jerusalem so many years ago with wind and tongues of fire. The hymn for this month  consider how the Spirit falls upon us afresh us. 

Sing "Spirit of the Living God" (Daniel Iverson)

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me.

Spirit of the living God,

Fall afresh on me.

Read Jeremiah 18:1-10

“This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. 

Then the word of the LORD came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel. If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” (Jer 18:1–10 NIV)

Devotional

"Holy Spirit mold me" is a brave prayer. It's a prayer that takes our lives and places them in the hands of God. In the book of Jeremiah the prophet is brought to a potter's house to see and hear a message. He watches the potter at work with a lump of clay. Jeremiah sees the potter's creation get ruined, but then the potter makes it into a new shape - something that seems best to him. At that point, God appears to Jeremiah and interprets the scene for him: Israel, God's people, are like clay in God's hands. And God can shape and bring about whatever he wants, just like a potter shapes clay.

As you sing and ask God to mold you this week, think about the boldness it takes to place yourself in the hands of God. The Holy Spirit is molding our lives; we are in the hands of God in a very personal and intimate way. If we are so bold as to place ourselves in the potter's hands God might uproot our habits, tear down our indifference, and destroy the sin in our lives. And there is a good chance that process will be painful! But if we really ask God to mold us, then he won't leave us there. God will also built us back up and replant our lives by streams of living water (Psalm 1). 

Group with Adults

Do you know someone who makes pottery or works with clay (or sculptor, or artist, or someone who works with wood)? If so, take some time to observe how they work with their material. If not, watch a few YouTube videos of someone working in one of these ways. What does the artist do when her materials don't cooperate? How does this help you better understand Jeremiah's vision at the potter's house?

Group with Kids

Get some playdough or clay and invite the kids to make a sculpture of themselves. After they are done ask them to consider the way God might be molding them through his Spirit.