Chip Stapleton Highland Presbyterian Church April 2nd, 2020 Hunkered Down Devotions
2 Corinthians 4:5-10 (NIV)
5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8 We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.
The Christian band, Jars of Clay, has been one of my favorites since I first heard their debut record (Flood) in the mid 1990’s. The name, taken from 2Corinthians 4:7, is more than just a clever name for a band, it is an important message for us today.
Some translations render that phrase, ‘cracked pots’, and that gives a clearer image of the point that Paul is making. In Paul’s day, when all of the containers most people used were made of pottery, every house would have had a corner or space to toss all of the broken pots and damaged jars.
These jars were common and cheap, and once damaged they were simply tossed away because whatever was contained in these clay jars was always more valuable than the jars themselves.
And that is Paul’s point, what is inside of us - the light and love of God – is stronger and more important than the vessel that is carrying it. This is always a good and important reminder.
But, for me at least, it has become even more important as our current conditions and the rapid spread of COVID 19 have made it abundantly clear just how fragile and weak our bodies are and how susceptible our world is to upheaval.
So as we struggle through this difficult time, as we wrestle uncomfortably with our own mortality, these words from Paul should bring us hope and comfort: We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. ….. Our bodies may just be jars of clay – easily broken and imperfect – but because of Jesus we can carry in us and with us the ‘all-surpassing power’ of God.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Lord, we are reminded that we are just fragile jars of clay, easily broken. But you fill us with your love, grace, and peace – making us powerful carriers and reflections of your light. Help us shine for others. Amen.