A beautiful mosaic
I was gazing blankly at a simple but beautiful coffee table. The tabletop was a mosaic of hundreds of wood rectangles arranged in an interesting pattern. The table is in the prayer room at the Methodist church where I go for centering prayer on Thursday mornings. We had finished our prayer session and were following it up with a meditation on the famous passage from Ecclesiastes 3: “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die,” and so forth. Patty, one of the ministers there who leads the prayer group, had conducted a funeral the previous day for Tom, a recently departed member of our prayer group, who in his waning days had chosen this as one of several Bible passages for his memorial service, and she was moved to use it with our prayer group as well. “A time to seek, and a time to lose…A time to mourn, and a time to dance…A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what was planted…A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.” We turned the verses over in our minds in the presence of God, and in my own mind, each phrase came to represent a piece of Tom’s life, as with all of our lives. And, as I looked at the wooden rectangles which made up the tabletop, each one came from a tree, and for each of those trees, there was a time to be planted and a time to be cut down. Every ring, every fiber of every tree told a story of warm sunny summer mornings and cold winter nights, rainy spring afternoons and windy autumn days that threatened to shake every yellowed leaf loose. Though I didn’t know Tom well, I could see in our few brief encounters that he passionately loved God and allowed the light of the Savior to shine through his frail, aging body. His life was the story of the seasons, times and purposes of God in a man who chose to live according to God’s will. Like the coffee table, his life – like the life of every person who follows the light – was a beautiful mosaic of the work of God in a person’s life.