Edmund: Okay so when you hear about the Holy Spirit, you might think of things like fire, water, in Scripture sometimes it talks about oil or a dove, you know like a flappy holy bird.
But I want to change the way you think about the Holy Spirit forever by talking to you about pottery.
Garrett: My name is Garrett Pendergrass. I’m the owner of Garrett Pendergrass Pottery here in Fort Worth, Texas.
You know the tactical qualities of it, getting to work with your hands, the immediate effect so you have both something fast within 5-15 minutes you can probably get to shape.
But then you have to also build impatience because probably it’s gonna take another two to three weeks before the process is completely done.
And just, I was a boy who liked getting dirty and now I get to be an adult who gets to be dirty for a living and I don’t get in trouble so it’s kind of nice.
So the general idea is like once you get yourself a bag of clay, you’re going to kind of, what’s called wedging. It’s kind of kneading dough. You’re trying to work the air pockets out. Once you get it on the wheel, you form it to the shape that you want.
So pretty much I’m just trying to compress the clay inward and downward and so trying to help remove any air pockets, align all the clay particles, as well as hydrate the clay.
And then you have to let it dry for a while. Once it’s firm enough, it’s called ‘leather hard.’ Then you start trimming it up, or you add handles, you sculpt it. You can add under glazes to it. You can do a lot of things during that stage. That’s a good sculpting stage.
And then it needs to dry out completely so all the room temperature water pretty much needs to evaporate out of that. It becomes bone dry and then you fire it and that’s called a bisque firing.
So I put it in that one. I fire my bisque work to a little over 1800 degrees. It turns the clay to ceramic. The main thing, just over a thousand degrees fahrenheit, I believe, is when the clay officially turns into ceramic
Edmund: So in Matthew Chapter 3, St. John the Baptist says, “I indeed baptize you in water for repentance but there’s one who comes after me who will be mightier than me who will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire.”
And the first firing of the clay pots reminds us of this baptism. It’s a firing that can’t be undone. The Holy Spirit is given to us in baptism and it changes us forever. We can’t undo our baptism. We can choose to sin still, but baptism heals us of original sin just like the first firing, which removes any impurities from the clay.
Garrett: And then after that, that’s when I glaze it to add that glass colorant to the surface.
And I fire it again to just shy of 2200 degrees to allow that glass just to melt on the surface of the ceramic piece. And once it becomes molten on there cools off, then it’s food safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe.
What also happens in the kiln for the second firing is that generally the clay becomes vitrified.
But once you have a vitrified pot it’s pretty much like you said, sealed like the clay and the glaze matures at those temperatures. It will not absorb any of the water or the moisture so therefore it’s it’s more resistant to mold or mildew growth on the surface of your piece.
Edmund: During the glaze firing, the fire transforms the pot and seals it so it can be used for a purpose and this reminds us of Confirmation. During Confirmation, just like during Pentecost with the Disciples, the Holy Spirit comes upon us.
It matures us as Disciples and allows us to be sent out for God’s purpose, allows us to be used for God’s purpose. It equips us for the Christian life.
So finally how can we cooperate with this Holy Spirit in a way that it continues to transform us, in a way that makes us holier and holier, closer and closer to Jesus Christ? Well, first of all fire needs fuel and oxygen.
Now we can fuel the Holy Spirit in our lives through the Sacraments, through prayer, through Scripture, and by learning more about God and the Christian life.
Now the fire needs oxygen and just think of that as God’s presence, his breath, his Holy Spirit. I mean, it’s just there and we need to become more aware of it. We can become more present to it. But the effects of fire are that it transforms and it spreads.
So how is the Holy Spirit, the fire of God, transforming your life, making you into more and more an image of Jesus Christ? And also is the Holy Spirit spreading in your life? Are you allowing God to spread to other people? The Holy Spirit is a fire and God has transformed you if you’ve received Baptism or Confirmation and he wants to continue transforming you through the power of the Holy Spirit. So let’s allow the Holy Spirit to take over us and transform us forever
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