We are apart of a shepherding group at our Church called Mosaic. I was drawn to this group initially because of the name. I imagined a diverse group of individuals pursuing God and serving others together in a cool "mosaic" kind of way. The year that we finally got connected, service really was the focus and I loved it, though I found my total hours of service were shamefully low. This summer, and as I head into this next year, my desire is to really put feet to my thoughts of service and fulfill my part. I've been struck recently by the importance of the meaning of mosaic and how it fits perfectly the picture of the Church in service.
Google's web definitions has these things to say about the word MOSAIC:
- art consisting of a design made of small pieces of colored stone or glass
- arrangement of aerial photographs forming a composite picture
(OK, there were a few other definitions but these fit my analogy!)
Small pieces... I saw this at work the other night as the Church provided respite for foster parents for several hours. This is a monthly service that is offered. Some months have tons of kids and some months have fewer. As I went about the evening I found that my role was so small. I served the kids and volunteers their dinner and snacks and then I helped clean up. That's it! But, over and over I was appreciated for what I was doing. I looked at some of the volunteers I was serving, some of them held tiny babies for the entire 3 1/2 hours, some were drenched with sweat from actively playing dodge ball with the older kids, and I thought WOW! what great service. Their reply: "What? I'm just playing with some kids!" From each person's perspective their role was so small, but when you stood back and looked at it, each tiny piece pulled together and created a wonderful event that deeply blessed the foster parents and the children attending. A mosaic.
Together we can form a composite picture of Christ. The more each of us brings our gifts, our personalities, our experiences, our strengths, our ideas to the group, the more the group can reflect the detailed image of Christ. Like a mosaic, the more tiny pieces you bring together the better and more defined the picture is. If you have just a few very large pieces, the overall image is flat and monotoned and what stands out are the individual pieces not the work of art. Many variations, even between two very similar pieces, add to the dimension of the overall picture.
So, for me, this means I must actively bring my piece to the table, to be set in my special place in a mosaic that creates an image of Christ that others can see.
Most things that I might do to be apart of the mosaic take very little skill, and usually just a little extra time... I can make dinner for a family of a newborn or one who's recovering from illness or surgery. I can help a busy friend with yard work, laundry or housekeeping. I can join in the garage sale someone is hosting. I can help pack lunches for the homeless once a week. I can pick up people with no transportation who want to go to Church or Bible study. I can work hard to remember people's names. I can ask where they live, where they work, what they're up to this next week, so they know that they are cared about. I can send a note to cheer someone who looked down. I can host a dessert for a missionary to help them raise support and increase the perspective of those who attend. I can paint the nails of women who've been battered and abused as a part of a night of pampering. I can meet my neighbors and look for ways to help out when needs arise. I can park further away so older people, pregnant ladies, and people who have disabilities can more easily get to Church. I can smile at the homeless beggars at the exit and pray for them. I can actively seek to understand a missionaries daily life so that I can best pray for them. I can spend less so I can give more. I can sub in the children's departments. I can give blood. I can be friendly to the checker's and barista's I encounter and allow the Holy Spirit to direct my conversations.
These things are very small but sometimes I even forget or overlook doing them. My plan this year is to start with a mindset of "Yes!" and then to carry my calendar with me to Church or randomly when I'm out and about so when opportunities come up I can quickly save the date. This means I will either have to switch to a portable planner or carry a larger bag that will fit the calendar I have on my fridge. It also means I will have to give up some of my own plans in order to fit into a larger plan. And, in order to keep my tank full, I will also have to schedule time for myself so that I have more to give.
As a group, my hope is that as a few people in Mosaic begin to set themselves out to be used in the bigger picture, others will begin to see the beauty of what is forming, and as more and more join in it will become a work of art that others desire to be apart of.