When I visited Italy with a friend, we went to Deruta, a town near Perugia. It is a pottery town, where the major ‘majolica’ comes from. Somehow we ended up at the 13th oldest family run business in the world: U. Grazia Maioliche.
Ubaldo Grazia was on hand and we were personally escorted by him around the facility. When I say ‘facility’ picture a 16th century Umbrian rambling farmhouse. However the age of the place can’t hide the fact that they make high-end pottery in both traditional and cutting edge designs and the world’s top importers clamor for Grazia maiolica. Williams Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany import from Grazia, who is one of the better ceramics producers.
We were allowed to take photos, so here are some that I took and others are from the Grazia website.
“But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” (Isaiah 64:6)
The LORD formed Adam from the dust of the ground and His breath (Genesis 2:7). To heal the blind man, Jesus “spat on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud.” (John 9:6)
He is sovereign and He makes us as He wills. Can the clay speak back to the Potter? No, we are depraved, unfit for any use!
“We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.” (Isaiah 64:6).
Yet our Father, who is holy, makes us useful for His glory. He cleans us. Then He uses us. This is a privilege. He doesn’t need to use us, as He is perfectly self-sufficient. But He does use us and what an honor it is.
|Grazia workers hand painting the vessels|
We are cleaned inside when we become born-again. And as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12) we become brighter on the outside too. Slowly the Potter’s hand adorns us with righteousness as the Spirit’s sanctification process saturates us even more each day.
“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
While here on earth, we can see the progression of a person’s sanctification, dimly. We see the transformation of their lives in their speech, and their acts, and in their countenance. They shine.
But imagine what shining countenances and trophies of grace we will see in each other when we are fully glorified! We will see Him as He is.
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
Like the unfinished pottery above, the Potter’s hand is always at work upon us. The dish is pretty, its design is nice and the color is sweet. However, not until we get to heaven will we see the full effect of His work upon the formerly shapeless lump which He formed, and made, and decided for which use, and then adorned with good works. (1 Timothy 2:8-10).
Jesus’s life, death and resurrection; the Spirit’s ministrations, the Father’s creation of us work together to make a vessel which has been made holy and beautiful. In all eternity, I will never comprehend the Goodness of a Savior who redeems polluted lumps of clay to His very bosom, and then spends our lifetimes making us beautiful.
Someday the work will be complete, and we shall see Him, and we shall be like Him…
“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29)
We will adorn His table at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. (Matthew 22:2; Revelation 19:9). All praise the Lamb who was slain!
“Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” (Revelation 5:11-12)
Thank you, Jesus. Just…thank you.