In the Potter's Hand
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Give each child a ball of clay and tell them to hold it in their hands and listen for further instructions.
This morning I brought some clay. I'm sure that all of you have made things from clay or Play-Doh. There’s even a job for making bowls, jars, art, and more from clay. Someone who does this is called a potter.
Today you’re going to be one-minute potters. I’ll call out a shape and you have one minute to make it. Ready? First, you have one minute to make a flower, go. (Allow kids one minute to mold the object.) Time’s up, hold up those flowers. Okay, next you have one minute to make a horse, go. (Allow kids one minute to mold the object.) That was a bit harder. Hold up those horses. Okay, lastly, you have one minute to make a vase, go. (Allow kids one minute to mold the object.) Time is up. Hold up those vases. You were great one-minute potters today. Now roll your clay into a ball and set it in front of you.
What happens to a piece of clay if you forget and leave it out for a long time? (Invite kids to shout out answers.) It dries up and gets hard. When it’s dried out, it’s not easy to mold it into what we want it to be.
That reminds me of what was happening to God's people during the day of the prophet Isaiah. In our Bible lesson today, Isaiah is very upset and is begging God to come down and change the hearts of his people. "We have sinned and turned away from You and You have become angry with us. How can we be saved? No one calls on Your name or pleads for Your mercy. You've turned away from us."
Sounds pretty hopeless, but Isaiah didn't think so. He knew if the people would turn back to God, He could mold them and shape them into what He wanted them to be--like clay. Isaiah said to God, "Oh Lord, you’re our Father. We’re the clay, and You’re the potter. We’re formed by your hand. Please don't be so angry with us. Look at us and see that we’re Your people." Isaiah knew even though the hearts of God's people had become hard, God could still mold them into what He wanted them to be. (Invite kids to mold their clay into heart shapes.)
Just like the people in Isaiah's day, we sometimes stray away from God and our hearts become hard. All is not hopeless. If we will turn back to God and ask Him to forgive us, He can mold us and shape us into what He wants us to be. God is still the potter and we’re still the clay! Hold the heart you made between your hands while we ask God to mold our hearts. (Pause for a moment.)
Dear God, forgive us when we go astray. Take us in your hands and shape us into what You want us to be. In Jesus' name, amen.