Friday, November 27, 2009

Mosaic ...

Have you ever seen a painting or photo from a distance that upon closer inspection was actually constructed from a series of little tiny images forming a Mosaic? When you stand very close to the art, you can see each little picture, and can make out the detail of each life. But when you stand back at a comfortable distance the “big picture” emerges and tiny unique images seem to fade into the master design. Facts do not change, distance does.

Those who reject a God of any kind must believe there is no grand design in life, no master plan, that everything that occurs is simply a matter of random chance and the decisions of others. The consequence of believing in evolution and random chance as our genesis denies us purpose and meaning in our lives. If your existence is merely random, your consequence cannot be significant.

You could argue that even under a random genesis people like Hitler and Gandhi both impacted our world, one for good, and one for evil. But if both are a product of mere chance, why is either significant? Either one could have not ever existed, or once coming into existence, either one could have made different choices that radically altered the course of our history. And now that they are both clearly dead, if only a product of mere chance, their legacy is negligible at best. Evil remains in the hearts of Neo-Nazi’s, and many other hate groups who use Hitler as their motto or hero. And pacificism is all but dead in the world, leaving Gandhi’s legacy in steep decline at best. In another 2000 or 3000 years their memories may be long forgotten; perhaps like king Nebuchadnezzar of the Babylonian empire from long ago.

But with belief in our Creator God, both purpose and meaning return to our lives in concert with a master plan, not just for our world or our existence, but with the existence of all life in the universe. This is where the concept of a Mosaic best fits the pictures of our lives today. On ABC’s new hit series “Flash Forward”, the central plot premise is that the entire world passes-out for 2 minutes 17 seconds and each person has a vision of themselves in the future. The global fainting causes much death and destruction, and the US agency investigating the phenomenon, creates an online project called “Mosaic” where anyone can post their stories or visions online and check them against others to form an overall picture of this time in the future.

The beauty of a Mosaic is that you cannot get the big picture without enough of the little tiny images that comprise it. Pull out 30% of the pieces and the grand design fades. Nor can any small tiny image claim to be a representation of the overall big picture, it takes many small images in order to construct the bigger one. It is a balance that you find in all of God’s created works. Each image is important to the overall creation, but only as it sits in harmony with the others. The beauty of how our God creates is the level of uniqueness He incorporates in each tiny piece. Each of us is unique in our appearance, DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans, and frankly in our characters. Each person created to be a part of his master Mosaic design. Each person a tiny representation of the whole. Each person, needed to fit in a particular place, a particular role, in order for the master design to take shape.

So what happens to God’s master plan when those He created refuse to be a part of his Mosaic? I believe He raises another, or gives another person an opportunity to take up the missing role. But even in this, He does not simply create a replica of the last person who rejected His calling. He does not deny our individuality simply because we refuse to play in His symphony. The uniqueness of the person who rejects His calling perishes with that person. But the role they were meant to fill, might go to another. The new person who accepts this calling will not accomplish it in the same way as the one who rejected it. Our differences prevent this. But the overall mission, the overall design, will go forward.

In Adventism, in our early church history, God saw the need to make a personal connection with a believer to relay His guidance to the specific questions of the day. It was His intention to guide and affirm our beliefs through His miraculous power, and through an expression of His love through volumes of written testimony. The first two people He called on for this responsibility both rejected the calling, though they remained believers. I imagine they feared the ridicule that always accompanies anyone who dares to testify for God. I imagine they both had lives they did not want to give up or put away in favor of writing, witnessing, and counseling those in desperate need. I imagine they had many “good” reasons to refuse God’s work. And so they did.

Had the first person accepted the call, our church would have a different Patriarch than the one we remember today. The style would have been different. The language may have been different. He may have accomplished more than his counterpart, or perhaps less as men died generally earlier than women overall. But he did not accept this calling. Perhaps he did not even believe it to be real. Until at a meeting a young 16 year old girl stands up and states that God has given her a message to relay to the world. Then the first man called realizes the reality of his calling, and so does the second. They both stood and testified as such. And God’s purpose went forward in the least likely of vessels – a girl – with only a sixth grade education and significant physical health problems from her youth. But most Adventists today know the name of Ellen G. White, formerly Ellen Harmon.

God’s plan will go forward, the only question is what role we play within it. The story of Ellen White illustrates that no role is dictated by God, it is only offered by Him. We must accept what He offers in order to do the work He would have us to do. Jonah chose to run away from His calling, but Nineveh needed to be saved. Eventually Jonah changed his mind. Moses ran away too. He tended sheep for forty years, but eventually returned to the role God had in mind for him. Sometimes God pursues those who at first reject His calling. Sometimes He does not. But each one is offered a role, and each one must make a decision of what they will do with the offer. Have you thought about your own? What role do you play in God’s Mosaic?

God is not one dimensional either. As God exists on many levels, perhaps more than our finite minds are capable of understanding, so His purposes for us extend to many different areas of our lives. He may have a role for us to play within His church, within our community, within our immediate families, and within the brotherhood of man for centuries to come in His perfect kingdom we call heaven. Just like you are capable of more than one emotion, God may have designed you with more than one purpose in mind for His Mosaic. But it is the whole of your life He is looking to affect, to make better, to free from pain, and to fit in His unique designs.

Those that have no purpose, have no hope. For your life to have meaning, it is necessary to understand the intent behind your genesis. You became a living soul because God decided to breathe one into you. Forgetting the conditions of your birth, your existence upon entering the world marks a new opportunity in the Mosaic God has designed, one in which you can play a vital role. Not everyone need be recognized as a hero, to impact our world. Some folks will take on enormous public responsibility (pray for those folks), some will live only quiet lives of selfless service (pray to be those folks), but all carry a purpose within our Mosaic.

If you don’t know yet where you fit into God’s plan, perhaps you should start asking Him. However one thing I have learned in my own life, and from seeing the lives of Moses, Jonah, and many others – it is always better to be following the will of the Lord, than trying to do your “own thing”. I do not know what ever happened to the first two men who rejected God’s call in our early church history, but I will bet they regretted that decision for many years. I will bet they went to their graves wondering “what if”. It is one thing not to know what God wants for us yet, it is another to know it, and refuse it. I pray we all accept whatever God intends for us, and even more that we begin to want what He wants, and learn to see His Mosaic through His eyes …

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