Much of my work as a parish priest involves the many joys shared with others in their lives, weddings, baptisms preparing for and leading worship and working with many young people through our schools and Stepping Stones All Age Worship, along with spending time with people in the parishes I am blessed to serve.
However, there are those sad times in parish ministry, when we walk with others through a journey of bereavement when a loved one has died. This is an enormously privileged area of ministry to care for those who feel broken in their lives due to bereavement or loneliness, or both and it reminded me of how even in the most broken times in our lives, God is there with us and uses that brokenness to often bring about fruitfulness in faith, even when faith has never been experienced before or not been an active part of our lives for a long time, and so I wanted to share with you, something that has helped me through difficult times in my own life, and I hope this may be helpful for you too, or to those who you know who may be feeling a little broken just now…. It is called
The Chosen Vessel
“The Master was searching for a vessel to use; On the shelf there were many – which one would He choose? Take me, cried the gold one, I’m shiny and bright, I’m of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best! The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall; I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your wine And I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You. Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was widemouthed and shallow, and polished like glass. Here! Here! cried the vessel, I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view. Look at me, called the goblet of crystal so clear, My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide. The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood. You may use me, dear Master, the wooden bowl said, But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for bread! Then the Master looked down and saw a vessel of clay. Empty and broken it helplessly lay. No hope had the vessel that the Master might choose, To cleanse and make whole, to fill and to use. Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine. I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big-mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might. Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. There’s work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”
Every love & blessing,
Your parish priest,
Rev. Zoe Ferguson (Priest in Charge of the Mundford, Hilborough & Oxborough groups) Day off Monday.
(For Wedding, Baptism & Church enquires 01842 879990 or email)