There is a famous Jewish midrash that teaches that we are jars of clay, created by the great sculptor, our Creator God. None of us is perfect, despite God’s best efforts. In fact, each of us is flawed and cracked in one way or another. You might think that these cracks were mistakes by God, or errors of our own creation, but not so, teaches the midrash. In fact, these cracks are the way that God’s light shines out of us to bless the world.
I am on retreat this week with a prayer group that formed when we were all in seminary together. Each morning we rise and say morning prayer together. Then we each have an opportunity to share about our work, our families, and our spiritual journeys. In between sessions we go for hikes (we are in Livingston, Montana, right next to Yellowstone National Park) and take time for silent reflection. In the evenings we take turns cooking for the group and end each night with Compline.
We have been meeting like this for 14 years now, and we have been present to the struggles and blessings of one another’s lives. It is a humbling experience, both to share your life with others over time, and to witness the ups and downs of their lives. That old midrash seems like a perfect story for our group. We have all been broken, and we have all experienced the joy of doing God’s work.
When we accept that each of us will experience failure, disappointment, and misfortune, and that through it all we are called to do God’s work, we find that God works through our failures and flaws as much as through our wisdom and strengths. The cracks in our lives become openings for God’s love and grace to shine.
I am grateful for this group and this time of retreat, and I look forward to being with you on Sunday. May God shine through you, like the broken jars we all are, to be a blessing in the world.
Yours in Christ,