The Work of the Kiln Master
Here is a question for the ages.
What is perfection? Most people see it as synonymous with the concept of being flawless. If one takes this bent on the term, it is true, no one is flawless from birth to death. The JST under the word when one is given actually denotes a different standard. That standard is, to be whole. While ruminating on this subject I came to the conclusion that the word perfect is most likely used in place of another word that will stop most religious conversations flat. The word is consecration. Not the consecration of a society but that of the individual. It is a form that has never been rescinded and stands as the standard of faithfulness required by Father.
The question over perfection, started with a translation flaw in the word as used in the Old and New Testament where God commands His servants to be perfect. Ever since then man has been chasing this standard and evidently chasing their own tails. I have come to see perfection in terms of a parable that occurred to me one day when I was pondering it.
We start out in life as blocks of clay. Blocks of clay are rough blobs of matter. Perfect in substance but flawed in nature as they are good for nothing in their present state. Father chooses clay to do His work because he understands and comprehends the substance, and it suffices him that it has flaws. He knows that in order for it to be shaped into what he desires it to be, it's flaws must be cleansed from it. The rub to the process the Master brings about in our lives is that we can resist that process. At any point in the shaping we can become unmanageable. When this happens he may break the design as it is developing, add water back, making it into a blob once more. Then he starts again.
Father is kind and patient. The breaking isn't meant to be punishment per say, as much as a necessity to break the patterns of behavior as it is developing. People, for fear and self preservation, do not present themselves for breaking when they know they have grown in a way that isn't useful to them. He often has to send servants to seek them out and break them. When they ask for help those servants and at times he personally comes because they have shaped in a manner that doesn't make them happy, and have professed a willingness to submit to the process again. I imagine some don't even understand how often they ask for their own breaking in their thoughts. From personal experience, breaking isn't a bad thing. I admit, like most people, I do not enjoy it. But I took Father at his word and understood that he wouldn't be breaking me if he didn't love me.
As far as this goes the concept of starting on the path to perfection or consecration serves its purpose. I found however as I gave the metaphor of the potters clay more thought, there was an extension to this metaphor that presented itself and which I wish in turn to present to you.
In extension, I liken Father to the owner of a potters shop, which He has placed in the hands of his beloved Son to do as his Son sees fit. The Father does this for two reasons. One, so that the process goes smoothly and two, because Father can't make the necessary sacrifice as an exalted being, which is necessary to cause all the works of his hands to be subject to the Plan of Redemption necessary to exalt them.
Father doesn't lock his shop but invites all in. Unfortunately there are those who come in and break vases with violence. They can scar and maim vases which are properly made but those that have flaws of nature are more vulnerable. Such vases are cast in unsafe shapes, therefore cannot withstand the violence. This flawed shape isn't a result of a flaw in the potters at the shop but rather the unwillingness of the vase to be shaped. They break in to shards. Once the vandals leave the Master returns and separates the essences of each broken and maimed vase. He smooths over each scar on the intact vases that present themselves to be healed. Those that refuse he sweeps off together into a pile. If one from that pile calls out he takes the shards that call to him, mixes water and reforms their soul into a ball of clay and then starts to shape them again. Father loves us individually. As many times or as often as we turn to be broken or tested he will do that. The Vandal comes in often and sometimes we unstably wobble all on our own and take out our fellows on the shelf while we are at it. It doesn't matter. Those who have been supple in the Master's hands will find that such things won't shatter them. It will mark and scar them but not shatter them unless they let it.
Eventually, some of the pots who think themselves ready to be made useful in the world, present themselves to a kiln or large oven to be baked into a final state. Now if you fire a pot that has too many flaws it will shatter in the kiln. Father is OK with that. He will pick up the pieces and if they will allow themselves to be softened and reshaped all over again. He will work with them again. Often after so many trials and tribulations people at that point refused to be worked with. They blame the maker for the shattered pieces of their lives. Is that really fair? If fair really mattered that question might need an answer. The truth is, it is just. If they wish to see things in terms of fairness, he collects them as people and tosses them with the rest of the shards that wouldn't be worked with. They happen to be harder then the shards that haven't been kilned and sometimes willfully try to break further those who have already been broken.
Hopefully one has the wisdom of fixing His or her flaws early and humbly before declaring themselves free of flaws. The processes that must be gone through to refine any vase are painful enough to the vase (as an individual) that, if the trails aren't born well the kiln and/ the vandal are difficult to survive with your self-esteem and dignity intact. Of course all are of infinite worth. When one has been found wanting, however, it is acknowledged that the vase will find the process of being ground down and reconstituted hard. Equally hard is remembering that that process was done out of love and not punishment.
The end effect is that before the pot can be added to the Lord's House, it must be flawless. So long as a person is humble and willing to go through the hazards of shaping and firing the Lord will work and refine that person until they are everything they need to be in order to be acceptable. When this is done one is 'elected' or 'chosen' and thus found worthy to do the Lord's work in purity and power. In all reality, this means one must go through the kiln and be flawless enough not to fall apart and crack as individuals. The flaws in the clay that would make cracking and breaking inevitable, even unavoidable are gone. Father is kind and won't kiln any piece until they consider themselves worthy of the process. Most of the broken pieces in the corner of the shop have not been kilned but broken by the Vandal or other such accidents of existence.
When we call out, the Master will come for us, one way or another. We shouldn't expect however for him to come search us out of his own accord without any effort on our part. Choosing between the shattered pieces for anything useful isn't the work of the Master. The Master is only interested in those that call to him in humility because of the time table he is given to work in. He is able to take these vases and form them into vessels that will suit his Father or Lord's house the most. He calls upon servants to help him because of the time table. They are they that have already been fired in the kiln and then transformed into those capable of doing his work his way.
He has a brother , however, that has never been part of his servants as a whole. His brother has a gift for finding and discerning amongst the shattered pieces and locating that which will not present itself to the Master. He has permission to break and grind down any of the shards that it seems him good. He grinds as he knows best how to and forms pot or vases on his own, in his own fashion. He has the gift to do so through the work he has done for time out of mention. The result isn't as nice as the Masters work because the material he is working with isn't doing so willingly. He, however knows how to weave them into something that will survive the kiln. Surviving the kiln is this man's only requirement of the clay. It is a grim work but a necessary one. While only the best pots will adorn the Lord's house, those pots aren't the only ones in the kingdom.
Some call him the Grim Reaper, perhaps that name suites. He works mostly on the other side with those who will help him to grind those that wouldn't be ground by the Master. He grinds all those shards into dust and then makes of what is left vases that will give purpose and peace. He also moves about the vases that consider themselves flawless and is in fact the actual servant who fires most of the vases, as the Master is often way too busy to do so himself. Every now and again the Master will fire one all on his own. He is as capable as his brother who works the kiln. His brother is ok with that and they both see the vases in the shop the same way, as possibilities. Over time the Kiln worker has become hardened, however. He sees vases with a cynical eye. Every time he kilns a piece he wonders if it will survive. He kilns them all the same. If he says a piece won't survive, he is almost always right.
A time is coming , however, when the Master and his servants must go to the house of the Lord because the feast is about to start and the shop will be turned over to the Kiln Master. The Kiln Master is as skilled as his brother but nowhere near as nice about it. He will work them all and is very fast in the working. If they resist he breaks them. It won't matter whether they want to be broken or not. If they do not return to him for being reconstituted he will sweep them in the corner and forget about them. He will let the fires of the kiln, already prepped, degrade that mass of broken shards. Those who get used to the working of the Kiln Master will find that so long as they remain modifiable under his watchful eye they will become acceptable in a shorter amount of time then seemed possible. He is as adept as his Brother. He is also one that the Vandal fears and is capable and willing of chucking the Vandal out of the shop. The kiln worker needs no help to do his task.
They will call that period of time the great and dreadful day. I suppose in a fashion it will be great and dreadful for the pots and blobs of clay who have yet to present themselves. They will be attempted and worked whether they ask to or not. Their unwillingness and hesitancy won't matter. They may curse but do they really want to be broken and thrown in the corner? They will have to answer this one for themselves. This is why the Master and his Son have beckoned so long and loud, present yourselves and be formed for you won't want to wait. Those who will not listen will find themselves being worked anyhow in the end. It will be, however, by a pair of hands that are not merciful. For the Kiln worker is just. He is charitable in a fashion. He works no man past the point when it would be better if the piece were pounded into powder. It would be better that one present themselves now. The kiln master isn't cruel but his work is his own and those who wait until he is the only worker left have asked for his rough handling. None of the other servants wanted his job by the kiln. That is just as well. There was more then enough work in the shop without being stuck by the kiln.
Eventually, what pots could be made out of the residue in the corner will be taken to the feast. The greater pots will join the others of their kind. The lesser pots will keep the servants and slaves company for such are they. The other servants only make greater pots and great is their work. The Kiln master makes all the rest. Then will the King meet his Kiln master and he shall have his rest.
The Song of the Kiln Master
sweet are the sounds
for them that hear
of one who speaks
to all and none
hear the master
who came and went
the one who died
the Holy One
If you missed him
misthought his words
couldn't understand his message
and took only part
fear not he has sent many servants to refresh
they wear black badges
and come in two
yes their young
making mistakes of t hat kind
but most are true
and must be heard
did you miss them?
throw them out?
When they leave have no doubt
a few will be sent
lead by one
who the rocks will hear
and the animals bow down
and they will walk
none will bar
if they speak not
walls will fall
yet the arm of the Lord
has hands to
is better to be caught by
that which hugs
and not which holds
for the hands
that bled him
will bleed you too
but such is the nature
of waiting till the end
Yet tis not the end of the world
just the end of nonsense my friend
for only after the bleeding
will the Son return.