Naomi and Elimelec left Judah because of a drought to settle in the land of Moab. The land of promise had become parched and barren, causing them to seek sustenance in a foreign land without promise – a common response to a seemingly natural occurrence. Elimelec and Naomi had two sons, and each married a daughter of Moab, Orpah and Ruth. Later, Elimelec died, leaving Naomi a widow dependent on her sons. Then her two sons died, leaving Naomi and her daughters-in-law seemingly alone with out support. It was then that she arose to return to the land of promise. However, Naomi was without hope or faith, saying, “The hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.” So she sent her daughters-in-law away to return to their mother’s house that they might find new husbands.
The following is taken from Winston’s presentation to introduce the performance at The Promise, now playing Fridays and Saturdays every weekend until November 4. The speech is delivered as he is “throwing” a new vessel – from a lump of clay into a beautiful vase or pitcher. A similar sermon, tailored to your individual group’s ministry needs, is available as part of his Pottery Presentation.
It all began with a promise, a promise of redemption for you and for me. You and I are marred. We don’t match the plan the Master potter has for our lives. Your life may resemble this ruined vessel, which collapsed just minutes ago or maybe you feel that your life is almost complete and no one notices the imperceptible crack in the rim. However you’ve noticed and the Potter can’t accept the flaw. The Potter knows your unformed substance and can reshape the clay that is your life into a vessel that is pleasing to Himself. That is the Promise revealed so many years ago.
“Boy is he a piece of work” I heard a teacher say today about a young boy. I said to my self, well that certainly is true but whose workmanship is he? At first I thought of the young man’s parents and all the ways they might have contributed to his upbringing. Did they work with him at night on his spelling and other schoolwork? Did dad play ball with him on Saturdays or take him fishing? Did his mom teach him to tie his shoes, brush his teeth, and make sure he washed behind his ears? Did they take him to church on Sundays where he would learn the golden rule and about a God who loves him no matter what? Probably they made mistakes and neglected to do some of the things they should have. They probably look back with some regrets and vow to do better in the future. Then I thought of some of my works in clay and how I at times had neglected to work and blend the clay as well as was needed. Maybe I used clay that was too soft or too stiff for the purpose for which it was intended. The result was always less than satisfactory though the imperfections would often not be noticed by others. But I noticed. I noticed not only the less than satisfactory resulting form but also the struggle that it took to correct or cover over the blemishes of my previous actions. In any work one step completed well aids greatly in the successful completion of the next step.