Monday, May 23, 2022



Being a willing vessel in the hands of the Potter can bring never-ending miracles. 



An award-winning potter and mystical artist named Sage Conrad teaches a pottery class, giving her students life lessons while making earthen vessels. Her longtime friend, Alfred Odin, sits in the back of her class, skeptical of her spiritual advice and tries to make his clay form into a masterpiece anyhow. Despite Alfie’s sarcasm, he hides a cross in his pocket and has secretly been in love with Sage since they were teenagers. As Sage says, even if vessels have cracks, it gives light the ability to shine through them all the more. Miracles can happen when you are clay in the hands of the Potter as a willing vessel. 



As legend has it, anyone who is a pottery student of Sage Conrad, a renowned potter in Charleston, South Carolina, is sure to experience a miracle, not like a hokey, made-up one, but a deep, mystical encounter that caused the person to change from the inside out. She is known for her studio called The Wheel. Like most mornings, her longtime friend Alfred Odin sits in the back of the studio while Sage teaches a class. He reshapes the clay on his wheel, unable to get the clay to do what he wants. He gives Sage a hard time for always trying to teach her students life lessons. 


Sage kisses Alfie on the cheek and chides him for hiding his rosary in his pocket. For someone who loves to curse God, she thinks he has a funny way of always carrying a cross in his pocket just in case God might be watching. Alfie is angry that Sage tells everyone his secrets. As his rosary sticks out of his pocket, he uses his fingers to open the clay. Since his bowl is a bit lopsided, he starts over again, kneading the clay like dough. 


“O Lord, You are our Father, we are the clay, and You our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand,” Sage reads from the hand-carved sign at the front of her class, quoting Isaiah 64:8. She asks her students what they will allow God’s hands to make of their lives. She also asks them what they will make with their own hands. Alfie mumbles that he has heard her speech so many times that he could give it himself. Sage talks about being a willing vessel for the purposes of the Lord. She asks her students to stand up and sing praise. She leads them in singing “Have Thine Own Way, Lord.” Alfie wearily conducts from the back of the room.


Then, Sage proceeds to teach the basics of making pottery on a wheel. Sage looks at Alfie’s latest creation with a critical eye. Then, Alfie insists that Sage has been in love with him since they were teenagers, but she could never admit it. Sage smiles, sitting down in front of a treadle wheel to teach the class her techniques firsthand. On the contrary, Alfie is so stubborn and hard-headed that sometimes he misses the blessing as a “crackpot,” she jokes. Despite the spat between Sage and Alfie, the students craft their clay jars with care. By the end of the day, the pupils have each made some sort of earthen vessel, ready for the first firing of the kiln, and then the glazing, and then firing their handiwork for the second time. Sage hopes that every time her students look at their finished creations, they can remember that they are willing vessels. There is no greater honor than to be clay in the hands of the Potter.

Copyright 2022 Jennifer Waters

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