The rim of the bowl is blood red. This vessel has been filled to overflowing with suffering. And yet, forged in the fire of adversity, the glaze is transformed to striking purple, the color of kingship, with hints of radiant sapphire.
Deep in the center a surprise awaits -- a vibrant green -- proof of life after suffering, even in and through it.
Peter was convinced that the sufferings of Christ provide a paradigm for our own suffering as believers. The fires of adversity work out a glorious finish in us.
"Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 'He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.' When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 'He himself bore our sins' in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; 'by his wounds you have been healed.'" (1 Peter 2:21-24)
"Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Today we stand midway between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Though the piercing pain and raw wounds are behind us, we have yet to see the full glory that is promised. May this parable remind us of the beauty wrought through suffering, forged in the fire, and stamped by the Great Designer whose purposes are being worked out in ways we cannot yet see.