This is my article for Peace Presbyterian Church’s November Newsletter.
Dear Peace Family,
My husband, Jason, loves jigsaw puzzles. He sets up a card table in our living room, opens a puzzle box, and gets to work. While I am someone who struggles to find two pieces that fit together, he can complete a pretty complicated puzzle in two or three days. And sometimes, after having all the puzzle pieces spread out on the table, and the flurry of activity of placing pieces together so quickly, and the hustle and bustle of our living in general during non-puzzle times, he gets to the almost end of the puzzle and realizes he’s missing a piece.
We’ve found his stray puzzle pieces stuck in his chair; under the entertainment center or couch, and on the bathroom floor. He will not put the puzzle away until it is complete, so like the woman sweeping for her coin (but never vacuuming!) in Luke 15, he searches the house so he can complete his puzzle. An unfinished puzzle has sat on the table for weeks before the piece turns up.
The Bible gives readers many metaphors and pictures for the church. The church is a human body or a sheepfold, for example. But I think if Buffalo Games or Springbok had been around in the day of the early disciples, a jigsaw puzzle as metaphor for the church would have made the pages of our sacred text.
A puzzle is a good metaphor for the church:
- Each puzzle piece is different–different shape, different colors.
- Each piece was made to fit perfectly right where it belongs in the puzzle.
- Once assembled, the whole is more beautiful than each individual piece could achieve on its own.
- Each piece is necessary to make the puzzle complete.
This month, we kick off our 2022 Stewardship Campaign. We are calling it “My Piece…Our Peace.” Each year, we give families and individuals in our church a pledge packet that contains an Estimate of Giving card to estimate your financial giving to Peace in 2022, and a Time and Talent Survey that invites you to think about how you would like to apply your time and talents to the church in 2022. The information you share on either of these documents is not legally binding–you don’t end up owing the church that money or service. These are a tool for church planning, and we hope you are praying about these opportunities and that you are dedicating your planned giving–Tithe, Time, or Talent–to the glory of God and the mission and ministry of his church!
In your stewardship packet, you will also find a blank, white Puzzle Piece. You should have one for each member of your household–and we will have extras that can be mailed or picked up at the church. You are invited to color, decorate, or design your blank puzzle piece however you like. Maybe you will make it represent your personality, your gifts, or simply your favorite color. You can use markers, crayons, colored pencil, pen, or collage materials. Everyone who participates in the life of our church in any capacity–whether member, frequent participant, or new visitor–is welcome to join in helping us complete our puzzle. Bring or send your completed puzzle piece to the church, and during this month, we will assemble the puzzle in the sanctuary. Even as we turn in our Pledge Cards and Time and Talent Surveys on November 21, we will also remember that we do so as a church with many members, and each one is an important piece of our whole. Your puzzle piece represents you and the paper documents you are placing in the offering plate, and is a visual reminder of your important place in our church family. My Piece…Our Peace.
The most similar metaphor to puzzle that we have in scripture is that of a building, with each member making up a crucial piece of the building materials.
19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, 20built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. 21In him the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; 22in whom you also are built together spiritually into a dwelling-place for God. –Ephesians 2:19-22
As a church, we are being assembled for the glory of God, each piece is important, and we will not be a complete structure or church until each piece is added. So whether you have already found your place to join in service or fellowship, or if you’ve gotten lost under the couch for a little bit, come and join us and add your piece to our Peace puzzle.
Grace and Peace (Piece?),