When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Acts 2:1-4
Jan Jacobs shared with me a book expert about anagama pottery. Anagama involves a wood-firing process through a kiln like the one in this picture. There are four values that must be met by any group that wished to create anagama pottery: community, process, time, and an open mind. Community is key because anagama pottery requires many different people to fulfill many different roles, yet that must all surrender to the greater goal of the process: doing the work that will allow the fire to do its work. Thus, community, process, and time all weave together. It takes anywhere from days to weeks to fire pottery and so there is much time to value the process and the collaborative nature of community. Most potters indicate that the journey is even more valuable than the destined product, for there is great fellowship, appreciation, learning, and accomplishment within the process.
But perhaps the most exciting part of anagama pottery is that no two pots or vessels come out the same. The fire completely dictates the final product, and some products are beautifully sparked in ash while others have waves or stripes. Some take a very geometrical shape while others are free-flowing. But all are works of art. Thus, one must have an open mind and heed their productive control to the fire. Commercial pottery is very much an assembly line of controlled products and one can expect their pot will look exactly like what they envisioned and exactly like what they wanted. But anagama relies on the uniqueness of the community, process, time, and creative power of the fire.
I think anagama bears many similarities to the church. We too must value community, process, time, and an open mind. We too must work together, cherishing, developing, and encouraging one another’s role within the community. We must celebrate the process of becoming more like Christ, a life-long journey that will create a wide array of fire-produced products. Indeed, the fire is what produces the culmination of community, process, and time.
Our fire is the Holy Spirit, and He is at work within Living Roots Church. Every time we come together in community He is leading and guiding our creation. What I hope we will all appreciate is the uniqueness of His creative power. Churches should not be created in commercial kilns that ensure they all look the same and have the same qualities. Nor should any church hope to produce individual Christians that are all the same. The Holy Spirit is working in each of us differently, but in ways that enhance the body. He is working with our body in ways that will be different from other churches, but in ways that will enhance the kingdom.
I find this journey incredibly exciting and freeing, and I hope you will feel the same. I’ve been enjoying the blessings of our community over the past few months as we worship, study, and fellowship together. I am excited for the journey we are on: a journey that will take time and in which we will not control ultimate product. But there will be great blessing, appreciation, learning, and accomplishment within the process.
-- Pastor Justin
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