“The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” (Romans 5:5)
As I carefully picked up the pottery pitcher filled with water, our pastor began to read the “Affirmation of Baptism” that Sunday morning. At her nod, I very slowly poured out the water into our church’s shimmering baptismal font. Listening to the words, it almost seemed to me that I was experiencing a slow-motion moment as water met water, symbolizing so much.
In thinking about our souls as earthen vessels, allow me expand on that. We know that the original state of any vessel is emptiness. With that in mind, we understand that we must “empty” ourselves with a humble heart, confessing those things which have kept us from becoming all God desires of us. It is then, in our humility and openness, that the Holy Spirit can best flow in, filling us up. God’s love can then begin to fill up our beings, giving us the desire to live our daily lives in His love.
So, in all practicality, what does that look like?
As the Holy Spirit pours out God’s love into our hearts our desires change. We truly long to love more generously. We pray to have a forgiving spirit towards others who may hurt us in some way. We want to live out the fruits of the spirit: love, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Exercising grace towards others becomes a holy effort. We remember that we are filled more easily as we faithfully worship with our church family, read God’s word, and listen in our quiet moments to that “still, small Voice” of guidance and love.
In daily practicing our faith in these ways, WE are the ones able to pour out God’s love into our world. Our family and friends and others in our circle of influence will be the beneficiaries. Hopefully they will become soaking wet with the love of God. As we pour out the love of God that was poured into us, may blessings unfold.
Truly we are earthen vessels of God’s love. We empty ourselves. We are filled. We pour out, emptying again. We are filled. Over and over. And so the life-long cycle continues until we hear, “Well done, faithful one.” Thanks be to God.
Thank you for your unconditional love, poured out into our hearts through the gift of the Holy Spirit. We believe that you are the potter, and we are the clay, formed into your useful vessels of flowing love.