Mosaic of Reflections

Ever jump into a project with enthusiasm and then wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into? It’s especially unsettling when you’re the one who thought up the project in the first place. If you’d only realized what was involved ahead of time: the mess, the anxiety, the frustration, the stress, the lack of control over all the parts…it certainly sounded like a great idea at the beginning, but who were you kidding thinking you could get this done exactly the way you expected to?
Becoming part of a faith community is much the same, I think. You join with enthusiasm, with a picture in your head of what it’s going to be like. You’ve found a place that shares your values, has friendly folks who do more than sit in their pews. Most, if not all, the check boxes are ticked. This is a place where you belong, where you can matter, where you can grow. It’s going to be great.
And it is great. But it’s also people, so it’s messy. It’s a church wrestling with faithfulness to God’s still-speaking voice, so it’s frustrating. It’s stepping up to serve in ways you never have, so it’s anxiety-ridden. It’s welcoming all, even those who disagree with you, so it’s a lack of control. There are so many pieces. How could they possibly come together and make sense, make an impact?
As we worked on our mosaic project together in September, I had many moments of questioning myself about this project. I experienced the full range of emotions as it progressed. I lost count of how many times I tried to share what the end result was meant to be, silently wondering to myself if this mosaic was going to get done exactly the way I expected it to.
I loved those who didn’t fully “get it” yet participated anyway, some enthusiastically and some hesitantly. Some who denied they could do anything artistic but still allowed themselves to be talked into giving it a try anyway and who enjoyed playing around. Some who reminisced about earlier years of creativity. Some who came to the table every week to do another couple tiles.

Perhaps we should title the mosaic “Liturgy”, for it truly is the work of the people.

On the day we unveiled the assembled-but-not-completely-finished mosaic, there was an audible reaction around Fellowship Hall. I experienced such deep joy and satisfaction to finally be able to share the result of all of our work together. After the meeting, some were drawn to inspect the piece up close. I loved one comment I heard: “It actually worked! It looked like just junk on the table, but now it’s beautiful!”
During that meeting, as we discussed staff changes and governance changes (messy things) and an incomplete budget (anxiety and frustration, anyone?), I started thinking about all those folks who participated in the mosaic project. They didn’t share the vision in my head, but they trusted the project’s purpose. They allowed themselves to get messy together, trusting that their work would produce something meaningful. They came to the same table, shared the same resources, but put their individual mark on the work.
Just like church. Our worship and worKship together has meaning and impact. We may not be able to see the fullness of what that is, especially amidst the mess and stress at times, but it isn’t “just junk on the table” – it is coming together. We are coming together, and it is beautiful!
Mosaic Update: Speaking of anxiety, it’s been quite the process to figure out the resin pour to seal and finish the mosaic. Once we start, we can’t go back. So we’ve been taking our time to learn to do this portion of the project. We expect, however, the mosaic to be finished and possibly hanging up by the end of next week (November 9).