In the hands of the Potter

 Clay. Touch it. Feel it. Smell it. Put it close to your ears. Stare hard with your eyes. Perhaps you like the touch. You may enjoy the smooth clay after it has been rid of all stones and other nitty gritty stuff that are useless.

Yes, I have had a hand at making pottery and I have to confess that I was not too successful. It was not easy, for one. To make pots one has to be very patient for the processes are long and tedious. One has to get rid of all that is unwanted from the clay. The clay has to be prepared well.

Then comes the other things to consider: the design, the function, the size, the colours. . . This is not the end, for sure. The hands of the potter, caressing the clay with love, are then put into action. . . to mould, to shape. . . What will it  be?

When all that is done, it is time to leave the half finished product on the shelf. Biscuit firing. Glaze with colours. Firing one more time…. and then, the completed result.

For me it is hard to tell what will emerge when I go to the kiln to remove my handiwork. There have been times when pieces not properly packed have got broken as well. The anticipation of opening the kiln to see the finished works is high and it can even be a little stressful. Think of the entire long process. . .

But this is only human. Think now of  the Master Potter who created each one of us. Do you think He made mistakes? If not, why do we not appreciate our looks? Why do we need to seek the approval of the world? Why be a  slave to advertisements? Well, these are just questions and to each one, we can all give different answers. What will yours be? Psalm 139 might be a good place to find the answer!

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More views from the top

The scenery is one of its kind. . . so these views are precious. The place is also very peaceful and quiet. Few tourists were around when we were there that afternoon. History lessons came to mind. . . the many lives that perished just trying to build the Great Wall. Can we keep our enemies out at all? It would be better to tear down walls and to  make room for friendship, and in so many ways we were able to do that. Such surprises! I have at least made many new friends, and that is truly a blessing…and I am certain I have left many in the churches I have visited as well. More than friends, most of them are my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I remember how it was said amongst friends years ago. . . our consolation was that  if we could not meet on earth again, may God let us meet in heaven. Praise God!

The Father’s love

Ask me what I mean by the title of this post,  and I would look heavenward. I treasure the love of my Father-God in Heaven. Yes, the first and truest fatherhood is not that of mere mortals in this life but rather that of God our loving and almighty Father. Yes, it is our Heavenly Father, the One who first loved us.

My own relationship with my earthly father was not close, but I do have the  best memory of him and that is by the grace of God. Although I can say that I vaguely remembered even my childhood, I do remember one thing: he gave me five dollars, and in those days it was a fairly large sum for a young child, when I did well in my first year at school. That is a sweet memory. But the sweetest one is seeing him smile as he accepted Christ as his Saviour. That transformation is what God our Heavenly Father did  for my earthly father. A moment of grace. A time of mercy. Forever will I sing the praises of my Heavenly Father.

Today I can thank God the Father for my parents. Praise the Lord!

Unfortunately, for many people, their knowledge of fatherhood is somehow inverted. They do not know God the Father first. They see their own earthly fathers, and if their earthly fathers do not live up to the ideals of real fatherhood, then somewhere along the line, much healing is needed. . . Sad but true of so many people.

The human father has a key role to play. Which child has no need of a male father figure? So, it is truly tragic when the world today tells us that two persons of the same sex can make up a ‘family’. What kind of a ‘family’ would that be? So many things seem wrong today. . . yet, let us take comfort that in the final analysis, God the Father loves all his children and he knows what to do with what is not right. He is in charge, and this is an important factor which we must never forget. Praise the Lord!

Of course, all children need to know the love of their fathers. Still, we realise that if our little boys know their Heavenly Father and learn how to love others, our world will be a happier place. Then when our little boys grow up and if they get married and have children, they can then in turn be good fathers. Hence, it goes without saying that all fathers have a key role to play. All are required to imitate the love of God for us. May we all pray for fathers to be such – loving, as our Father in Heaven is loving, and perfect, as our Father in Heaven is perfect.

Miracles do happen everyday!

IT IS GOD WHO GIVES GROWTH

The goodness of God knows no bounds. His love endures forever! My heart sings the praises of God today and everyday for His love has no end.

This morning at Mass the priest reminded us of the presence of  God with us all the time. That is absolutely true. It is not head knowledge. It is not mere words. It is certainly not a fanciful idea we think of to console ourselves. God IS with us, all the time. His promises are all true. ‘I will be with you till the end of time.’ ‘If you love me, you will keep my commandments, and my Father and I will make our home in you’ ‘you are the temple of the Spirit of God’  ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God’ ‘his love is eternal’ and so many more!

As the blessings of God are poured out so abundantly, I thank God for all the people in my life. May the miracles of God’s love, healing and sustenance be ever ours and may we give Him praise all the time!

Dying and rising again

It was a sunny morning when I happened to meet a foreign maid on duty. I stood by to observe the scene and then I went near to seek permission to take a picture of the two birds in their cages. Birds in cages are a sight that provokes thoughts of various kinds, but I shall not dwell on them now. I asked the young maid if she would be present again the next morning. Her answer was that she needed to do so as long as there was good sunshine in the morning,  After a while I left the young lady. The birds were basking in the sunlight but what about our young maid? What thoughts occupied her mind? 

This observation led me to many other thoughts. What does a young lady expect when she comes to a foreign country to seek employment? While the broad category of her job description is : Domestic Helper, does she ever know what her duties really are? They can be so wide ranging and it all depends on the kind of family one ends up working for. There is a family with a very grand old lady of almost a hundred years, and the maid has to take care of her. Another family has three young children and while the single parent goes out to bring back bread and butter, the maid has to handle both the children in her care and all the household chores that come along as well. Yet another one is more like a nurse to an old man who is sickly and difficult. Different scenarios but the same job offered.

Unless a grain of wheat shall to the ground and die, it remains but a single grain with no life.

If one were to talk about dying to oneself, I would say that our sisters who work as Domestic Helpers do a wonderful job of it. This was our topic of discussion last evening. Three of us had met to discuss on how to cope with the many deaths we have to go through. We shared on our struggles and on how we are uplifted when we ‘die’ and ‘rise’ again. We concluded that it was good to submit, and yet we also realised how difficult it can be to fully cooperate with the circumstances of life. Our domestic helpers have little choice. May God bless them as they live from hour to hour, day to day, month to month, doing what may be seemingly boring routine tasks, yet their humble submission makes the lives of others better. Should we not give them an applause? Should we not praise the Lord for giving them courage each day to die and to rise again?

Dare to dream

After Mass yesterday, I was still pondering over what I had heard in the homily. I thought of what Jacob did in the midst of all his woes and how he wrestled with the Lord. Undoubtedly he was full of  questions but the Lord blessed him with a sweet dream, promising him in words such as these: “Be sure that I am with you; I will keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this land, for I will not desert you before I have done all that I have promised you. ” Praise God.

In the Gospel, there were two more dreamers. First of all, there was a  man of deep faith. His daughter had just died and he was dreaming of her being made well again. To the good Lord, the God of the impossible, he turned and made his request. His prayer was answered and the news spread all round the countryside. Marvellous!

The second dreamer was a woman. She had suffered from a haemorrhage for twelve years and in one moment of grace, her dream to be made well was realised. She touched the fringe of our Lord’s cloak and after the healing, heard from His lips these gracious words: ‘Courage, my daughter, your faith has restored you to health.’ Amazing!

Are we not in need of having our dreams fulfilled too? Certainly. Students work hard and dream of scoring distinctions. Workers train hard and expect a promotion. Parents raise their children with the hope of seeing them live joyfully. Yes, we must dare to dream with our eyes open to see the wonders of God. He answers our prayers in ways beyond our expectation, beyond what we even dare to ask or hope for.  In the psalm, our Lord says to us: “His love he set on me, so I will rescue him; protect him for he knows my name. When he calls I shall answer him: ‘I am with you.’ I will save him in distress.” Amen.

Sunrise in the morning

This morning I saw the sun rising and as I fiddled with the camera, the lovely scene changed before my very eyes. I did not capture the perfect picture as some people may term it but I did take some photographs. I also had the grace to see the hand of God at work and find Him in the rising of the sun. It was a quiet moment of  reflecting on His faithfulness to us. How good God is! The book of Lamentations comes to mind . . . ah, yes, the mercies of the Lord are forever new. They are new every morning.  Our God is always faithful! Praise Him!

Seeing the sun rising slowly to give light and warmth to the universe, I could not help but think too of the many  people in so  many parts of the world who are in need of God’s loving tender care and providence. One world. One sun. One God. One people. How great the love of God is for us all! Praise Him!

Let all that lives and breathes give praise to God!