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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

24 February 2016: Patsy Robinson, Petersfield Methodist Church

A modern parable

Once upon a time, a man who owned some clay fields called together the local people and invited them to work for him. He left the administration in the capable hands of his managers, a factory was built on his fields and production began.

The managers arranged things very well and in order to meet their high standard put in place countless rules and regulations. All sorts of systems and processes were inflexibly adhered to and as new workers replaced the old, everything was carried on exactly as before, for fear of stepping out of line.

The pots were beautiful, the factory spotless and the workers proud of the result. However, in attempting to remain dogmatically true to the first pattern, they gradually lost their sense of ownership or creativity, feeling uninspired and curiously uninvolved.

Many years later the owner's son visited but as he walked in, his face fell. Everyone was strictly following the original plan, keeping obediently to the rules, but where oh where was the joy his father had intended?

Walking swiftly over to a tub of clay, he picked up a handful and threw it to the nearest worker "Catch" he called "Make me a pot." Surprised, she caught the slippery ball and seeing the encouragement on her employer's face, started to mould the clay. The others stared in amazement, but he called them over too. "Come on," he cried, laughing, "This is what my father meant. He delights to see your creativity, to see what you can invent for him."

Two hours later, there was clay on the floor, on faces and even in people's hair. There was singing and laughter in the air, all sorts of shapes and sizes of pots were being turned out, and it was very, very, good.

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