Yet, O Lord, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
The work of God’s hand
It is not a simple thing for the prophet to say that we are all the work of God’s hand. He has just cried out that God might rend the heavens and come down. He has compared the people to a used menstrual cloth. “There is no one who calls on your name,” he laments. But, he says, “You are our Father… you are our potter.” We are the work of God’s hands.
The prophet is not suggesting that God is responsible for the people’s hardness of heart. He is reminding God that despite our faithlessness, we are yet God’s creation. Not God’s finished creation, to be sure, but God’s project. We are a rebellious humanity, but we are God’s humanity. We are in his hands, not to be tossed away but to be formed and fashioned. “Will you keep silent?” he asks God. Will you not come to heal and redeem?
We are all the work of God’s hand. Not just the saintly but the cruel. Not just the righteous but the greedy. Not just the peacemakers but the violent. Not just the builders but the destroyers. We are all the work of God’s hand. The whole human enterprise is God’s enterprise. And the poet calls upon God to work God’s work. To kneed and mold and throw this clay into the holy vessel God intends. Spin us upon the wheel. Let your hands form us. Let your Spirit adorn us. Let your love fire us.
In the prophet’s prayer we hear also the prayer of Jesus. In the prophet’s prayer foreshadow the words of Jesus to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” In the prophet’s prayer is our calling to pray for all, beseeching God to come and form us all anew.