There is something they teach in pottery studios. It goes like this: SMASH THE POT!
Even the best has to be given up, sometimes, in order to learn.
Everything you hold onto as yours must be released, so that you may receive it anew as the gift of God.
Following Jesus may mean yielding - giving up - what we want for ourselves - even your own personal Jesus, so that you may become at last his person.
"My Jesus" must give way ...
Peter confessed: "You are the Messiah, the Christ."
But does he know what he is saying? Not at first ... but his words are indeed true, and come to life: they come to fruition.
"To whom shall we go?" he asks, for Jesus has the words that give life. Indeed, Peter comes to realize, he is the life the words proclaim.
Words proclaim; words of blessing and not of curse.
For God desires for us a hopeful future, of blessing and not of curse, and so our words are significant. It is important that they be words of blessing and not of curse.
We have a choice.
We have a voice.
And the tongue is a mighty instrument, a small rudder turning a mighty vessel.
So damaging words, false or true, gossip - or "sharing concerns" - can hurt.
You can choose blessing.
You can begin to develop the habits that train the tongue for good, for blessing.
Sometimes we think it is safe not to speak at all. Sometimes it is. But there are times when the safest course is to speak (even if awkwardly) and to say the right thing when it is needful.
A Protestant pastor survived the Holocaust, but not without cost, and not without realizing that he had forgotten this principle... as he later confessed:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out--
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me--and there was no one left to speak for me.
We have the blessing of voices - the gift, the burden, the high calling.
And we are called to join in the heavenly chorus, we with our voices, to those in silent song, for as the Psalm tells us, "The heavens tell the glory of God..." Even without words they are speaking.
And the words they are speaking are for blessing and not for curse, not for diminishment, but for enhancement of glory.
Let the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight
O Lord my rock and my redeemer.
O God let the working of your mercy direct our hearts - for without you we are not able to please you; so that with you, the Spirit that is Word and Wisdom, our voices and our lives sing your praise.
Amen. To God be the glory.
BProper19, Proper 19, Isaiah 50:4-9a, Psalm 116:1-8, James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38, smashing the pot,