Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Face of Christ

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.”
1 Corinthians 12:12-14

Recently, College Hill Church completed a major undertaking: a church pictorial. For those who have ever been involved in the process, you will know that it is no small undertaking. It takes many people to complete the task of arranging all of the details necessary to get everyone in the church photographed, and then making arrangements for publishing.

This year as part of our 100th Anniversary Celebration, our directory was quite involved. The company that photographed the congregation and published our book provided us with many opportunities to make it a great directory. In addition to the directory, we were able to get welcome brochures published as well as a Portrait Mosaic.

Over the past few weeks, we have received the directories and began to hand them out. In a separate shipment, we then received the welcome brochures and the Mosaic. To be honest, it was the Mosaic in which I was most interested.

The Portrait Mosaic is literally what it sounds like. It is a mosaic using all of the pictures from the directory. In our case, we chose a Mosaic of Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd. It reminds me of a stained glass window that I have seen from time to time.

If you have ever looked at a mosaic, you know that when you stand close to the artwork, you may not see anything except the material that was used. Sometimes it may be small rocks, or clay pieces. Sometimes children will make mosaics out of beans of different colors. In order to see the true work, you need to stand away from the art. When you do this – you see!

When I first opened our Mosaic, what I saw were the faces of the congregation. Each portrait that is in the directory is part of the Mosaic. I had forgotten which image we had chosen, so initially, I was unable to see the real image. I had to step back, and when I did, I finally saw it. It was the face of Christ.

As I stood there, I had an overwhelming feeling come over me. It was quite amazing for me to see all of those faces from the church making up the face of Christ. I said to myself as I stood there, “We are the face of Christ.”

Sure, we may understand that from an immediate standpoint. We often say that we are the church, we represent Christ, and we do his work. We even go to great lengths to understand ourselves at the Body of Christ. We read from Paul’s words in First Corinthians that we are baptized into that Body, but have we ever seen it in a portrait?

This mosaic is really making an impact with me this week. It is really causing me to think about our ministry and what it is that we do as a church. I hope that the image is not just an image though, but something much deeper and more meaningful. “We are the face of Christ” tells me that we have a job to do – and there are needs that must be met. We may just be the only face of Christ that people see!

Have you ever thought about that? More importantly, what are we doing about that?

St. Theresa of Avila wrote “Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.”

You are the face of Christ! That is a powerful statement, but even a more impressive image. Yet, I hope that it is more than just an image of what people see, but what they will experience from you this week. That will be my prayer.

“You have made us in your image, O God. And we simply pray that you would use us. We are your hands and your eyes. We are your feet, we are your body. Help us to reach out to those who are in need this day. We pray these things humbly, O Christ. Amen.”

This week in worship we will be continuing our series on Transformed Living. Our sermon will focus on prayer and drawing water. I look forward to seeing you all this week.

Please pray for me, and know that I am praying for you.


Keith McIlwain said...

Great image! Hopefully, we can all make it real!

Pastor Bill said...

Erwin McManus suggests that true mosaics are made of broken pieces of things put together to make something new, beautiful and whole - that's part of the motivation for renaming The Church at Brady Street - Mosaic Church. And that's what you have, isn't it, a whole lot of people who are (in small and big ways) broken - but put together are the image of Christ on earth...

Great observations, Greg.

Greg Cox said...

Excellent point too, Bill. Never thought about the broken pieces before, but what an image.

Brett Probert said...


Jeff St.Clair said...

I love those mosaics Greg. We are one in Christ Jesus!

God's Grace,