|Mosaic much more than semester project for Master of Divinity student|
Charles Wei knows a lot more about God and grouting thanks to the 25-foot mosaic that he is determined to complete before he graduates from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Wei started this work as part of the Spirituality Concentration he is doing for the Master in Divinity program. The mosaic is being installed on a wall of the SFTS student coffeehouse in San Anselmo, Calif. The first section he completed, which depicts the baptism of Christ, was so revealing that Wei plans to expand the mosaic to tell the story of Genesis to the Resurrection.
Using broken tile, glass and ceramics to create the mural, Wei has constantly been reminded of the work God does in people’s lives every day. That includes the unglamorous grout work, which first struck Wei as boring, but as he soon learned, is essential in connecting each colorful piece of the mosaic together.
“The fun part is putting up the tiles,” said Wei, a second-year M.Div. student from Camarillo, Calif. “But the grout ties the whole thing together. It reminds me of how God is slowly and constantly working with us as time goes by.”
The metaphors exceed well beyond the grouting. Wei learned in his SFTS systematic theology class about the metaphor of God as an artist, which becomes clearer to him with the placement of each tile.
“The more I worked on the mosaic, the more I could see God speaking to me through the metaphors,” Wei said. “I started the project at a point in my life when I felt broken, myself. God uses broken things and changes them into things that are beautiful.”
Although he originally approached the mosaic as a semester project, he soon realized that his artwork would take much, much longer to complete. “I might have to go for my doctorate to finish it,” Wei jokes.
It’s hardly a coincidence that Wei chose to create his mosaic in the SFTS student coffeehouse, known as Holy Grounds. He hopes to pursue a ministry in new church development, including starting a café church. “Now that I’m thinking about it, I have always envisioned a giant mosaic in the café,” he says, as yet another light bulb goes off in his head.
“I was trying to think of different ways people experience God,” Wei said. “I also wanted to contribute something to the seminary, something that was lasting and beautiful. I feel called to do this.”
Wei is accepting contributions of tiles, glass, ceramics and financial support to complete his project. For further information or to support this project, contact Wei at firstname.lastname@example.org.