Rev. Klockers: What is the best material to use for a container of truth?
Rev. Walter Klockers
| May 13, 2021 1:00 AM
In 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 (From the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible) it says:
“For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.”
A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you a journey I took with my daughter in 2013. We visited a place called Glass Beach, near Port Townsend, on the Olympic Peninsula. It was there that we searched for old glass that the sea had worn down. We were successful in this venture, discovering many frosted pieces in a rainbow of colors.
I own a large aquarium that I keep in the parsonage office. The substrate in the tank is a mix of sand and worn river rock. Recently, I had the thought of adding an amount of sea glass to the bottom as well. It turned out that I didn’t have enough of it from our trip to do the job.
I did some research online and learned that a person could produce a similar-looking product using a rock tumbler and newly broken pieces of glass.
In nature, well-worn sea glass might take a decade to produce. If a person uses a tumbler, however, this might only take a few days.
I understand that a trained eye could easily tell the difference between the two, but for my purposes cultured sea glass is just fine.
The passage from 2 Corinthians talks about clay containers and not glass. One emphasis of this passage is that the clay jars are metaphors for us; we are like handmade clay jars – imperfect, fragile, and sometimes cracked.
Yet, we are still chosen to contain a precious item: knowledge of the glory of God. We are not deemed unworthy to do so because of imperfections or “life’s accidents.”
If the Apostle Paul had access to clear glass containers in that time and place, maybe he might have chosen glass instead of clay for this metaphor?
Glass can be fragile, and cracked as well, revealing imperfections. Unlike clay, however, glass has transparency that lets us see what is inside – even when it’s frosted over a bit because of days, months, or years of experiencing turbulence within life.
Lord, let my witness be more like seeing through imperfect glass than imperfect clay.
Either way it is flawed, but I pray that more is revealed to benefit others.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Moses Lake and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.