Our guest blogger today, Pastor Chris Looker, invites us to consider the potter’s work by learning the fine art of pottery throwing on the pottery wheel.
Potter’s House Ministry
The Potter’s House ministry began at First Presbyterian Church of Annandale this past September as a pilot program for 8 weeks. The objectives of the program were to learn more about pottery, each other, and the Lord through prayer, listening to Taize music, and breaking out into small groups to throw, trim, glaze, and fire ceramic forms. Before it was over, we produced more than 100 finished and glazed pottery pieces.
The Original Potter
When God created the heavens and earth, God was like a potter at the wheel. The Prophet Jeremiah wrote about a vision that he had saying:
[The Lord said] Arise, and 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. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel (Jeremiah 18:2-7 ESV).
But pottery is not just the prophet’s imagination. We are told in the Book of Genesis that: the LORD God formed the man of clay [dust] from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature (Genesis 2:7). From that which was formless, God created many beautiful things. From the clay of the ground, God created and formed life!
But God did not stop there! God’s Holy Spirit formed Jesus in Mary’s womb out of nothing! In Luke’s Gospel we read:
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus … And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy–the Son of God (Luke 1:30-31, 34-35 ESV).
This is our potter at work. God formed Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary. It was not an accident; nothing was left to chance. God was involved in each and every step. He was born as the perfect Savior, fully human and fully God, all because the Creator himself was perfect. Jesus Christ was and is and will always be a miracle of God’s handiwork–and so are each of you! In Jesus Christ, God has shown Himself to be the greatest Artist of all.
God formed us from the clay of the ground. We know this because in Hebrew the word, Adam ( הָֽאָדָ֜ם (Genesis 2:20 WTT)), means alternatively: Adam, man, or clay (soil, dust, dirt, or ground). At funerals we are reminded of Adam’s curse for his sin: By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are clay, and to clay you shall return (Genesis 3:19).
What do we say? Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. We live in certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life.
Dr. Chris Looker is the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Annandale, Virginia (www.FPCAnnandale.org) where he has served for the past 8 years. He and his wife, Genny, live with their two boys, Ben and Sam, in Vienna, VA.
In the 50 plus years since FPCA was chartered, the community has morphed from being a Caucasian suburban community into an ethnically diverse, urban community. FPCA has risen to meet this challenge by forming a partnership agreement with the First Korean Presbyterian Church of Virginia (FKPCV). This partnership involves a growing number of people in decision-making, financial support, mission, and worship. FPCA and FKPCV have worked together to renovate the main sanctuary and much of the physical infrastructure. FPCA and FKPCV are also active in Christian Mission Service jointly supported the building of a 50 kilowatt hydroelectric dam in Lubondai, Democratic Republic of the Congo and the building of a Mission School in Catamayo, Ecuador.
First Presbyterian Church of Annandale (FPCA) is located in Annandale, VA off of Little River Turnpike (route 236) adjacent to Annandale High School (www.fcps.edu/AnnandaleHS) at 7610 Newcastle Drive, Annandale, VA 22003-5422.
FPCA prides itself on its commitment to musical excellence. On Sunday April 13, 2014 at 7:00 P.M., the Mormon Choir of Washington, DC (www.MormonChoir.org) will perform a concert in our sanctuary, as the second concert in our concert series.