Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Disaster on a City: Pictures

The fellowship hall/Spanish church chapel of the church campus that housed us had a mosaic on its floor, and the thing captivated me throughout my time there. It was a new mosaic, crafted in the days following Hurricane Katrina, although I do not know if it was volunteer crafted or otherwise. Stone, tile, and glass set in stucco took up a space of about four by six feet.

In the center of the mosaic was a cross, made from square tiles with a diamond shaped interior. The cross was surrounded by little glass pieces and smooth rocks, but in each of the mosaic's four corners, Christian images could be found, such as the anchor/cross, the dove, and the ICTHUS. There was a problem with the ICTHUS, however. ICTHUS is a Greek accrostic, formed from the words which mean Jesus Christ God's Son Savior. I noticed something about the ICTHUS, however. The Greek word for God's is theou, and the first letter of the word (which in English is the th, theta) is very similar to the letter that in English is transliterated ph (phi). Anyway, the little glass piece in the middle of the theta was shifted up, making the letter into an almost phi, and I walked away from the mosaic proud of my ability to the spelling of Greek words relayed in mosaics probably crafted by seventh graders (although I missed a much more important spelling error until the last day). As I walked away, I walked with the pick-me up of knowing that a little bit of Greek was sticking, but also with the knowledge that the spelling of a Greek accrostic in a mosaic had a value of next to nil.

I returned to the mosaic later that night for prayer. I could not get its beauty out of my head, and I could not wrap my fingers around why it meant so much to me, why I felt so drawn to it. I think it was the next day when I realized what gave it the pull that it had.

This mosaic was a simple of triumph in the midst of utter and complete disaster, tragedgy, pain. After the storm had wrecked the coast, four feet of water had stood on this very spot, but now a beautiful piece of art lay there. Then I thought of the cross in the middle of the mosaic, and I realized that the Cross itself had much in common with the mosaic, for what is the Cross of Christ but a symbol of triumph in the midst of utter and complete, disaster, tragedy, and pain. For just a moment, I remembered how scandelous the Cross of Christ really is, I caught a glimple of what it cost, I remembered what pain it brought. It was in the midst of this that Christ's triumph came, as death was swallowed up in victory, and Jesus became the firstborn from among the dead. That was why the mosaic tugged me so. It was a stone-set illustration of biblical truth.

It was not the only thing to effect me that week...


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