Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mosaic Faith

(Originally published in First Presbyterian Church Fayetteville TN’s P&P on March 19, 2002, which means you’ll need a time machine to actually visit the store and table described below.)

In a gift shop on the square (Grapevine Art & Glass), there is a unique table that fascinates me. Underneath its exterior, the table is of good quality, though fairly ordinary. It is what Sue Tiekling—the artist—has done with the top of it that makes it unique.

In a kind of mosaic style, Sue has taken broken pieces of Noritake china and formed a thing of beauty. The tabletop’s border consists of inlaid pieces from the gold edging of the plates. In the center, she has taken broken pieces from the middle of the plates and formed beautiful mosaic patterns. Each piece shows a fragment of the china plate’s original design, but together, they form a new design all their own.

I’m not working on commission, either for the Grapevine or for Mrs. Tielking, but I would recommend going to see it, if for no other reason than the fact that my description of the table is very inadequate. When you look at it, I want you to think about your life. Think about how your life could be compared to that table. Underneath it all, most of us live ordinary lives. But often, unbeknownst to us, God is at work doing extraordinary things in and through us that we do not immediately recognize.

When the fine china dreams that we have built for ourselves are cracked and broken by events beyond our control—when life’s chaos swirls around us and shatters the patterns around which we’ve built our lives—God can take the broken pieces and rework them into a mosaic that has a beauty and a function beyond what we ever dreamed. It won’t be the same plate, or the same dream, but it can become a beautiful work of art nonetheless.

Sometimes I think we hinder God’s transformative work by holding on to the broken pieces of our lives in a futile attempt to clumsily reconstruct our dreams, making a glue-covered mess that has no purpose or usefulness. Other times we quickly and thoughtlessly jettison the broken pieces, sure that they will never be useful again. All the while, God is waiting for us to let go of them, or may even have to salvage them from the trash, so that we can be shown the path to “a more excellent way.”

Check your life’s china dream cabinet to see if there are some broken pieces that you can begin to let go of. Look through your life’s garbage, in search of discarded and broken dreams to see if they might be offered up to the power and transcendent grace of God. You never know when and how the beauty of Noritake dreams might easter-up from our brokenness.

© 2002 Todd Jenkins

Monday, October 18, 2010

Week Found

I found a week twice this week
but didn’t know what to do with it.
I didn’t really find a week,
but it sure felt like it,
when I believed on two separate occasions
that scheduled events and due dates had arrived,
only to find out a short time later that
I had a week’s reprieve for them both.

When I lose a week,
which happens much more often,
I sometimes wonder where it went.
I like to imagine that
I was abducted by aliens or some other
equally-dramatic scenario,
so that I don’t have to
take personal responsibility
for my calendar bulging like a three-day udder.

But when I find one,
which I can only remember happening recently,
what myth will help me explain this phenomenon?
What can I claim as the cause for a week found?

I know I didn’t do anything special
to deserve this bonus;
didn’t somehow save up some
chronographic karma
that suddenly paid dividends.

What will I do with this found week?
Is it like found money—
do I have a choice of splurging with it
or investing it wisely?
What would you do with a found week?

I ended up using it much like any other week,
but I think I enjoyed it a little more;
savored its days, hours, minutes more deliciously,
simply because I realized that,
if only in my mind and for a brief while,
I nearly lost it before I ever had a chance to taste it.

Cheers to a found week,
to the grace of living all over again,
even if it’s really only once,
a week that almost disappeared!

© 2010 Todd Jenkins

Friday, October 15, 2010

We Are Falcons!

We are Falcons
from Lincoln County High!
We’ll always be Falcons
until the day we die!

When the sun goes down,
and the air is chilled,
we strap it on & buckle up
as the Pit is filled!

From the first kick-off
‘til the final whistle blows,
our hard work and
our teamwork shows!

Falcon fever pitch,
rising higher and higher!
We’ll rock your world!
We’ll burn you like fire!

We let our game be
the walk that we walk!
We let the score be
the smack that we talk!

We'll knock you on your butt!
We'll leave you in the dust!
When the final whistle blows,
you will respect us!

We are Falcons
from Lincoln County High!
We’ll always be Falcons
until the day we die!