Beautiful mosaic of God
A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us is a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself. That is what life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. ~Henri Nouwen
I see Laurel Heights as a mosaic… in the people… the faces… the places… the stories being shared. I am grateful to be asked to write this article, a love letter to the congregation of Laurel Heights. For that is what I hope you take away from reading this – LOVE – God’s love expressed and experienced when we gather together as the church.
In my faith journey I have experienced, and continue to experience, warmth, acceptance, affirmation, comfort, generosity of spirit, and above all unconditional love. Here at Laurel Heights I see and feel these in a smile, a hug, a conversation after worship, in service alongside you, teaching children’s Sunday school, receiving a note, sharing each other’s concerns, and praying and worshipping together. God reaches me and speaks to me in multiple ways through YOU, the people of Laurel Heights.
The church has been with me on my faith journey over the years – the joys and celebrations, as well as the difficult times. But having been on the receiving end of this community of faith has left me with powerful emotions. Putting feelings into words is difficult for me because words fall short of what I have felt in my heart. After experiencing the overwhelming feeling of emptiness upon the death of my father, as well as other family members, the church has proven to be the safe place, the right place to be — always. The all-encompassing love and comfort I felt when I came into the church the morning of the memorial service for my father was both humbling and touching. From the warm greeting of the receptionist, to the hugs from people milling about getting ready for the service, to the members of the care and concern committee in the kitchen, to the custodians setting up tables and chairs for the reception, to processing into the sanctuary, to the music and liturgy touching my soul — I knew this must be the place where God’s love abides. YOU were the face of God to me on that day, and it was incredibly powerful. It was what my family and I call a “thin space” — a moment in time where God feels ever so close. For this I am forever grateful to this congregation!
So Laurel Heights is a beautiful mosaic! In that mosaic, I see unique individuals who come together, each bringing with them their own special gifts and stories, gathering together as a community of faith. Each of us is an extraordinary dazzling stone that when gathered together as the church, projects the face of God to each other and the world around us.
In the month of October we’ll reflect as a congregation on what it means to share in the life of this remarkable community through the giving of our gifts and pledges — how what we offer in financial support for Laurel Heights allows us to become that beautiful mosaic even more broadly and generously for one another and the world. “Gathering God’s Harvest” is the story we tell of all that we’ve experienced of God’s love and grace through the people of Laurel Heights, and all we hope to share of that love and grace in the coming year.
There were stones in this mosaic long before me. They may be gone now, but their light is still being reflected today. I am but a small, grateful stone in the mosaic now. I look forward with hope to the stories the mosaic will reveal in the years to come and what the mosaic will look and feel like as God continues to work and move among us at Laurel Heights.
Gratefully yours in Christ,