A few weeks ago I took a glass blowing class. When I went back to pick up the bottle we (the glassmaker and myself) had made during class I spent a few minutes just looking around.
In one bin there were hundreds of chips of clear glass, waiting their turn in the melting furnace and the chance to become a beautiful work of glass art, or perhaps something more practical like the bottle I had made.
In another bin there were dozens of small, blue, glass stones. Glass stones like this are often used as decorations and some end up as part of the landscape in fish aquariums. The last time I was at Costco I found a display of what they called fire rocks that are used in fire pits and fireplaces. Other than being an amber color, they looked just like the glass rock I saw at the glassblower’s shop.
I think it is interesting and worth remembering that even though these two pieces of glass appear to be very different, they really are not. All that distinguishes one from the other is how they have been shaped and molded by the glassmaker.
These two bits of glass are destined to be part of different projects. The blank bit of glass might become a paper weight, a vase, or a bottle, or almost anything. On the other hand, the glass bead’s future seems to be set; it is destined for a fire pit somewhere. But with a little imagination and intervention, this unassuming bit of colored glass might well end up as part of an art project.
The thing is, we don’t know what the future will bring.
When we encounter others, they are only part way through their life’s journey. We meet them, and at that moment we get a sense of who they are, and something of their past, but we can only guess at what is to come. The best of us can stumble and fall, and the worst among us can change for the better.
As we see in the Bible, God’s love is powerful, transforming lives every day.
The book of Acts contains among other things the story of Saul’s encounter with Jesus and his conversion. Prior to his conversation, Saul was a devoted, God-fearing man, on what he perceived to be his mission to defend the faith. In fact, he was on his way to Damascus to arrest some Christians when he encountered Jesus. After three days of blindness, his eyes were opened and he became Paul — arguably the greatest Christian theologian of all time.
Peter, the disciple, is another good example of God’s transformative love in action. On Easter morning Peter was a broken man and failed disciple, having deserted Jesus when he was arrested, and then even denied knowing him. The resurrected Jesus transformed Peter, making him the rock upon which the Christian Church was to be built.
Take a moment this week to thank God for the blessings of your life, to pray for our nation, and imagine how God’s transforming love can change your life in the coming days and weeks.
John R. Fowler is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.