Associate for Communication
For their 26 hours together, the 500 attendees of the Massachusetts Conference Annual Meeting this weekend were surrounded by clay jars.
Humble containers. Cracked pots.
And together they wrestled with the idea that God chose such humble, imperfect vessels in which to hold treasure.
Keynoter Nadia Bolz-Weber said that, at first glance, clay jars would seem a poor choice for treasure.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7
‘Wouldn’t an iron vault be a better choice?” she asked.
And yet, when God chose to come to earth, she said, God did so in human form. Despite the frailties of the human body. Despite the fact that being human means being “irretrievably fragile.”
And so throughout this 216th Annual Meeting, clay jars abounded, from the displays of flower pots that surrounded the podium, to images on the screen of a cracked jar giving life to flowers, to Amy Bruch working live on stage at a potter’s wheel as part of each worship service.
There also continued to be glimpses of the treasure inside, such as powerful clay jar testimonials shared with attendees.
Liz shared how she overcame drug addiction and homelessness with the help of the Worcester Fellowship’s outdoor church. Cynthia described visiting a parishioner in Intensive Care who had voted against calling her - a woman, a lesbian - to his church. She described praying with him at his bedside and hearing his quiet response: "I was wrong." And John described how his tiny church in Dudley transformed into a place of wide welcome after members took the time to read every word of the Bible, together.
“God is trusting us to be the treasure. God is trusting you to be the treasure. God is trusting your church—your congregation—to be the treasure,” said Conference Minister and President Jim Antal.
(Access more pictures from the meeting at macucc.org/2015am. Watch the video from Friday evening's worship below.)
Tiffany Vail is the Associate Conference Minister for Communications for the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ.