Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jars of Clay or Feet of Clay?

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. - 2 Corinthians 4:7

Last week I was thinking about the Gospel passage for this past Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent, I thought about the Gospel as meaning "good news" and how much bad news surrounds us, even bombards us, on a daily basis. The economy is a shambles, people continue to struggle to make ends meet--even governments are struggling to make ends meet--and there seems to be a daily litany of people who we have put our hopes in to get us out of this mess and inevitably disappoint us with either personal failings or failing to move in the direction we think they should. They truly have "feet of clay," easily shattered.

By contrast, John the Baptist is not the least bit setting himself up as the solution to any problem. In fact, he is probably the least likely person you would want as a problem solver. He has this distressing habit of speaking his mind, no matter what that is, and he's not one for subtlety. As I thought about him and his message, I recalled the above passage and several things seemed to click. The fact is, all of us are clay jars--unadorned, perhaps dirty, hardly worthy of a second look from outside. And yet we have a treasure within us: the power of God to transform us and those around us. That's what the Incarnation is all about--God with us. May we know ourselves to be bearers of the light of Christ just as Mary was the bearer of the Christ that first Christmas.

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