Mosaic of Mercy

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Mosaic of Mercy: Cracked yet ‘Upcycled’ Vessels of Hope & Healing

Our minister spoke late last year about the notion that as believers we are ‘cracked vessels of hope’. This description resonated with me, reminding me of a mosaic. I’ve always wanted to try the art of mosaic but I haven’t yet carved out time to do this. I’d really like to make a mosaic chess table for my six year old son who has just discovered chess. One of those crafts that I’ve put in the ‘for later’ pile. But something that happened today may give me an opportunity to master the art of the mosaic. Today as soon as I opened the cupboard above the fridge, out fell my good casserole dish from my dinner set, smashing on the floor. Now you know why my site is called cappuccino and chaos. It’s a fairly apt description of my life right now. Okay so it’s only stuff and not a person so I refuse to be too disappointed, and I have a plan, to upcycle the cracked china into a mosaic sometime. Isn’t that what God does with our lives? He has a good plan and as the God of the second chance, when things look broken beyond repair, he can in fact ‘upcycle’ them. As the potter, He takes a mess of broken shattered pieces and gives them a ‘new life’ and a second chance by crafting and moulding them into something both beautiful and functional, a masterpiece of the Maker.

I tend to think of a mosaic vase as a cracked vessel of hope. I can’t claim that this is my own idea, many women’s ministries worldwide are called ‘Mosaic’ or allude to the analogy of a mosaic. That is, that we all have ‘cracks’ in us, the broken areas of life’s hurts, disappointments and failures. But don’t we often feel vulnerable when our ‘cracks’ are visible to those around us. Those weaknesses and areas of struggle, those fragile areas of pain and disappointment that we try to disguise and may even ‘medicate’ through avenues such as food, shopping, or alcohol. However, despite the cracks, a mosaic is still a beautiful vase,. When washing the dishes last week I had an epiphany – that if a candle is placed in a mosaic vase, it is the very cracks in a mosaic vase (as well as the pieces of glass) that actually let the light shine out. So too can we, with the assistance of those cracked areas, allow our light to shine. The idea of one’s light shining brightly like a candle through a mosaic vase may be quite a cliche, or a corny analogy to some. I however tend to think that it’s quite a beautiful analogy and one that inspires hope. It is our mandate as believers to communicate the hope of the Gospel to those around us, and to let our light shine before all men so that all may glorify God (Matthew 5:16).

Don’t we know that people are desperate for hope. And isn’t our society in a mess. You don’t have to be a sociologist to have insight into this. Many people lead quiet lives of silent desperation, and sadly, even many believers may come into this category. As our society walks away from Christian values, we seem to get sicker and sicker. Brokenness is everywhere. People are hurting much more than we realise. We are surrounded by violence and hate. Child poverty and economic inequality grows by the day, child abuse statistics are climbing, families and relationships are fragmenting. Only yesterday did I hear of two young children tragically murdered by their father, who then turned the gun on himself, all in front of their mother. Almost on our back doorstep in the small city in which we live , many friends of mine knew this family. How will their poor mother find the strength to go on following such an unimaginable trauma, I wonder.

Churches remain fairly silent about the terrors of human trafficking that is abusing and killing people, especially girls and women by the millions around the world. It is a pervasive evil that haunts me, having viewed the recently released film ‘Trade of Innocents’, and having young children myself. Furthermore, individualistic ideology can cripple any sense of community in the Western world. Many are lonely. Consumerism and busyness can cripple community too. Cancer rates seem to be climbing catastrophically. I’ve just heard of yet another mother of a similar age to me that has been diagnosed with breast cancer this month. Our society seems to be riddled with this cruel disease. No wonder anxiety seems to be so prevalent. I know what it is like to battle fear, even though I know that God would not have us live in fear.

This all paints a rather bleak picture. But as believers we know that we have hope, the hope of eternal life in heaven, but also of abundant life in Christ here on earth. Christ died to set us free. What does He want us to be free from? Free from sin that hurts ourselves and others, free from low self-esteem, free from the opinions of others, and free from the wounds that we may have received in this sinful world. We can be free to be ourselves, free to love God and to love others, free to fulfil our God ordained destiny.

There is so much beauty and depth in the Word of God and the beautiful passage of Isaiah 61 would have to be one of my favourite scriptures. I’m no biblical scholar, but there seems to be a consensus among biblical commentaries that this prophetic passage was written as the commissioning of Jesus, that he was anointed by the Holy Spirit and given his mission statement to share the good news. If you like, I think of it as a mission statement for us as believers also. The essence of this verse seems to be that  as we are planted and grounded in Him, that we may find healing and wholeness of body, soul and spirit through Jesus, and that we we are to bring grace, freedom, healing and comfort to a lost and very broken world. It says:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
    a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
    and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
    that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
    foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the Lord,
    you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
    and in their riches you will boast.

7 Instead of your shame
    you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
    you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
    and everlasting joy will be yours.

What an amazing promise of transformation we have in this scripture. And God is in the business of transformation. Whatever we are struggling with today, whether it is rejection, a broken or strained relationship, depression, anxiety, exhaustion, or perhaps you have been hurt in church, God wants to restore us. He wants to reach all of us with His abundant mercy and everlasting love, and His heart especially beats for those who may feel that they are on the margins or that they don’t belong. No matter what we have done, God meets us where we are at, ministers to us His healing and love, and uses our painful life experiences to equip us to be His hands and feet. He then commissions us to minister grace and truth to others.

If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your saviour, would you like to? It is a promise in the Bible that no matter what happens in life, whether sickness, betrayal, and even death itself, nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). What an amazing promise. In the book of John Jesus says that: “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)  Jesus said: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25). Have you considered praying this prayer:

Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus:

I here and now repent for my sins, and believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 
I believe that Christ died for me, as my substitute, and rose from the dead according to the Scriptures. 
Thank you God, for sending Your Son, and paying my debt in full. 
Even though I was separated from You by my sins, You saw me helpless, and fallen, and loved me enough to die for me.
I believe that Jesus suffered the penalty of my sins, and paid the full price to clear my debt. 
Your Word declares that His Precious Blood, sinless and Divine, pays for all of my sins.
Because He suffered my penalty, I am now free. 
No sin remains to condemn me. I’m no longer guilty before You.
I believe the good news of the Cross, and Your promise that 
“Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21)
I ask Your forgiveness, and I now receive Jesus Christ into my life as my Savior.
Today, I accept Your gift of love, mercy, peace and eternal life.
I declare by faith that Jesus Christ now lives in me.
I am a new creation in Christ, born of God with the life of Jesus in me.
I trust the blood of Christ blots out every sin from my life. My record is clean by Your mercy.
According to Your Word, I am now forgiven, I am now saved.

God offers us a free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 2:8).  If your faith in Christ is sincere, God’s Word promises that you will be made a new creation, with the life of Christ living on the inside of you; and you will be empowered to live the life God desires for you to have here on earth. If you have prayed this prayer from your heart, I would encourage you to find a Christ-centred Bible believing church, and find other believers who can disciple you and walk with you on your journey. For God has a wonderful plan for your life, He has known you from before you were born, having formed you in the womb, and He has plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). Let’s collaborate with Him as he moulds the ‘cracks’ of our lives into something beautiful, a vessel that gives Him glory. 

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