The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: ‘Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.’ So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. Jeremiah 18
When I was in high school, one of the requirements at the time was a semester of art, and, as part of the curriculum, we spent a number of days learning the craft of pottery, the culmination of which was a project of our own design and making. I remember thinking that this would make a wonderful Christmas gift for my parents, the creation of a flower vase a piece that would surely rival any of the Blue Mountain pottery that seemed to adorn almost every room in our house. The day came for the turning of the pots and, it became evident to me (and anyone within a few feet of me) that this was a skill I did not possess. I could not keep up with the clay which was either too wet, or never wet enough, and the more it turned, the worse it got. My teacher, taking great pity on me, suggested a change which I readily, if somewhat disappointedly, agreed to. My plan for an ornate, Grecian-style urn quickly turned into a quasi-round pencil holder, which never quite sat flat and was thin as a piece of paper on one side, and thick as a hockey puck on the other.
The import of Jeremiah’s words would not have been lost on the audience to whom he was writing, an audience which had a habit of turning from God’s way and living their lives in the worship of other gods, focusing on their own selfish needs and ignoring, if not abusing, the widows and orphans in their midst. God’s words through Jeremiah are clear… “I am about to re-fashion you into something new, because you have become displeasing to me.” The analogy of the potter and the clay would have certainly resonated with the people of the day, who relied heavily on the work of the potter for their day to day needs.
I can’t help but wonder as we find ourselves in this harvest time, is how Jeremiah’s words speak to us, as the Church in the 21st century. In my extremely short-lived career as a potter, I learned quickly to “settle” on something far less than my original design and intention, something that was much easier to achieve, but not nearly as attractive or useful as I had hoped. Perhaps it could be said that, since the beginning of time, God’s people have often taken the same approach, “settling” for something easier in terms of God’s plan, rather than doing the hard work that comes with living lives that are faithful. I believe that throughout the generations, God’s people, the Church, have been re-fashioned into that which was necessary for its time and place. Throughout history, there have been moments when God’s faithful have been willing participants in the plan, while at other times, we have resisted as vehemently as the Israelites some 4000 years before us. The questions always before us are, What is God’s vision for us today as the Church, what are we being called to do, and, most importantly, what will be our response? Will we “settle” and stay the course, content to make do as we are, or will we open ourselves to what God has in store for us next and allow ourselves to be re-shaped into something new?
If this is your first visit, it is a joy to welcome you to our parish web site. Perhaps you are one of those who are looking to find the presence of God in your own life journey, a search that in the midst the noise and confusion of our age, can at times seem overwhelming. Maybe we can be of some assistance. Contained within this site are examples of the ministry that we share as the Cathedral Church of St. Paul’s, London Ontario. We enjoy a wonderful mix of young and old, those who are new to the faith, as well as those who are mature Christians. In the midst of a wonderful blend of personalities comes the blessing of a variety of gifts and ministries. May the information you find here encourage you in your own faith journeys.
We invite you to come and make your spiritual home with us at St. Paul’s, but pray that wherever you are, you will find a Christian community where you can deepen your faith, and put your talents and gifts to work. Wherever you are, your prayers for the ministry of the people of our parish are appreciated.
We are thankful for all who give of themselves in the ministry of the church and for their commitment to carry out the commission that our Lord gave to us all. We are also thankful that you have visited our web site, and invite you to come and get to know us better.