Have you seen our latest masterpiece?
by: The Rev. Chasity L. Wiener
I heard it once said that, “Art speaks where words are unable to explain.” In this mystical process of faith and the mystery of how God ordains it that we all should be—through no coincidence—connected together in this thing called church, I appreciate that art is there is lend me a few words. Let me make it clear: you are in this place, Holy Communion Lutheran, not by your own doing. God brought you here for a reason. It’s part of your faith journey to discover that reason: Is it to grow? To be challenged? To be affirmed? To heal?
This mosaic not only marks our 35th anniversary as a church, but also is wholly representative of who we are: broken shards of beautiful glass that, when put together in a larger framework, become a completely different, beautiful masterpiece larger than oneself. That could be the very definition of “church” itself, couldn’t it?
What do you see when you peer into our mosaic? There is a lot to see—a lot to discover—and its beauty invites you to stay awhile to ponder. First, you might notice the chalice—the blood of Christ—shed for you…but not only you, because this chalice is “rooted” in all creation (coincidently, the word “rooted” appeared on a number of your responses from the congregational survey, from which the artist read and sought inspiration for this mosaic). Additionally, the chalice is our namesake—Holy Communion—and from that chalice we are spreading our roots and sharing Christ’s love (did you catch that one root even bends to be in the shape of a heart?). Are those wings sprouting from the chalice, ready to take flight into this world? Or are they just beautiful mountains majesty, honoring a God of all creation? Art is in the eye of the beholder, and both interpretations are apropos and invite you to stand in both possibilities to create the meaning.
As your gaze moves to the left, that green pasture gives way to the outline of rocks that form a bank to those still waters of a peaceful stream. Can you feel the movement of the 23rd psalm? He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. A solitary, burnt-orange flower pushes through rocky bank. There is a story behind this story as well: that small, orange flower was once a chunky, glass knob of some kind. One of our youngest church members thought it should be integrated into the piece but—perhaps because of its chunkiness—hindered other smaller pieces to be placed within the surrounding space. On several occasions, I saw several adults temporarily remove that knobby flower in order to work around its awkward size. The little girl ventured over multiple times, pushing through the crowd of adults, and in bold assurance that the flower—her contribution to this mosaic—would be included. She laid that piece, much like you laid yours. Her tenacity was a reminder that everyone has a place here, even in those awkward, ill-fitting moments.
Finally, the sun (or “son,” because it is above the chalice?) rises on the cosmos. There seems to be two distinct skies, with just a fine line between heaven and earth. It is here, in this place, where we encounter those “thin spaces,” where the divine seems to so accessible to our world. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. This almost brings us back full circle to the chalice once more—life, in the form of a red flower, vibrantly growing when rooted in this sacred chalice of Christ’s blood and church.
Art speaks where words are unable to explain. There are no words that adequately convey this mystical process of how God has connected us through our church, but, I am grateful for the loss of words. You are so beautiful by yourself, but something utterly indescribable happens when you put your beauty and brokenness next to others! You become something greater than yourself! You become the church, a beautiful mosaic in human-form.
So, in this beautiful mosaic, what do you see? Go ahead…take a holy pause and stay awhile.
Happy anniversary, Church!
P.S. A note from Sue Stockman, the artist who designed this mosaic: “It was an honor to be asked to interpret responses about such a wonderful thing as someone’s relationship with a church. I approach that space with responsibility and try to engage with my higher self in order to be a channel for all the voices that were raised. I really appreciated meeting everyone and being shoulder to shoulder with them in the vulnerable space of breaking tiles. It was a wonderful experience! It was a great concept that many hands make light work and it was a holy space of working together in order to co-create. The people are the church. It was very easy to fall in love with everyone at Holy Communion.”