I used to have a bit of an interest in tattoos, not because I had one or wanted one, a fear of needles and aversion to pain has ensured I have never been a paying customer at the tattoo parlour. However in my police days when I arrested someone I had to check their bodies for tattoos. If they had been arrested before I had to confirm their previously noted tattoos were all in the right places (caught a few false identity cases with that) and then I had to note down any new ones. Some tattoos were frankly laughable, like scored out girlfriend’s names, misspelled words and what was meant to be a proud eagle that looked more like a slightly portly pigeon. Others were quite profound, some ex soldiers had the names of comrades they had fought with or lost in combat tattooed on their chest so they never would forget. Other people had words which for them summed up their attitude to life, “Never Giving Up” , some had tattoos of people who meant a lot to them, it being the West of Scotland, the Pope and King Billy were over represented in this category. Anyway all this tattoo studying often made me think, hypothetically of course, what I would have tattooed to sum me up or explain my motivation in life. Well now I think I have found it.
I have just read this quote from New Testament scholar and Anglican Bishop Tom Wright and its probably just as well I am alone in the house except for a sleeping dog, who is now awake and looking a bit surprised, because when I read it I shouted AMEN at the top of my voice. Everything I believe about mission, everything I am committed to as a church leader, everything I desire Mosaic Edinburgh to become is summed up in this quote. If it wasn’t too long this is what I would have tattooed on my body because its words are now engrained in my mind and I am determined they will be expressed by my life. Here is it
Every act of love, gratitude and kindness; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of His creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creations: and of course every prayer, spirit led teaching, every deed that spreads the Gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption and makes the name of Jesus honoured in the world, —- all of this will find its way, through the resurrection power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of God. God’s recreation of His wonderful world … means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is never wasted. It will last all the way into God’s new world. In fact, it will be enhanced there.
Just read and reread those words and allow their immense implications for your life and for what it means to be the church to enter your consciousness. If what Tom Wright says is true, and I know of no truer words outside Scripture, then everything you do today has the possibility of being filled with the most incredible significance as you join God through His resurrection power in his great work of recreation.
Now tell me that doesn’t make you want to shout AMEN! at the top of your voice too if not perhaps head to the tattoo parlour?