Cameo Appearance

Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil, Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins
(James 4:13-17).

With the words, "Cameo appearance," most of us will make the normal associations with that of a big star who briefly holds a place in a movie or television show. But now consider the cameo, and ornamental necklace taking on many shapes and forms. Cameos were originally carved from colored, layered stone, and what was carved out from them was most often a profile portrait of a woman from the shoulders up. Part of the milky white layer of stone was utilized for the sculpture of the woman, while the rest of the white stone was carved away to reveal the black layer behind it which formed a beautiful and sharply contrasting backdrop.
The wonderful thing about the process of the creation of a cameo is that it would seem that the maker would look into what seemed to be a shapeless stone, and then worked to bring out a beautiful masterpiece that was already there within. To perhaps romanticize it a little, it is as though the maker poured his very soul into his work of art---making it as more than just another piece of work--making it instead, a labor of love.


Sculptor's knife held
steady in hand,
gently, methodically,
excavating to reveal
treasures hidden in the sand
of onyx pools, deeply concealed.
Scraping, chipping, with jeweler's touch,
so not to crack the fragile find,
peeling off the milky shell,
to bear the soul contained inside
a layered chalcedony well.
Freed from wraps of stone, she now
can raise her head in darkened sky;
while ghostly glow emitting from her form,
reflects soft, within her maker's eye,
and sinks into his breast to keep him warm.
The cutter's callused fingertips,
tenderly touch, to brush along her cheek,
and wipe away the dust, as if a tear,
as if a mild caress could more than speak
his love for her,
as if she could also hear.

It takes quite an eye to look into the rock and dust and find the work of art inside. Our God has such an eye, and each one of us are His creation that He, the Maker, has poured His very soul into---making us as more than just another piece of work--making it instead, a labor of love. His work with us is a process more intricately defined than that of the sculpture of the cameo. For we are far more than an image carved from stone, we are His image, brought out from the world and given life and the Light of God. Those of us who have received the Light that is in Christ have been made pure, and we stand out beautifully against the backdrop of a darkened world.
But our time here is short. This life is our cameo appearance, a brief passing through on our way to the next. There is much abundance of life to live here which truly will only be had if we allow ourselves to see the truth of our limited time, and the truth about who we are. For we are not just to make a cameo "appearance," appearing to be a child of the Light while we are here on this earth. For in so doing, we find that we fade into the darkness and are soon forgotten. However, that is not what God has fashioned us for. He has made us in His image, to be lights in the darkness, to stand out from the backdrop of the darkness of this age. We are His cameo--the image of His likeness that will live on long after our appearance on this earth is over.
What then shall we do? The choice is ours. Shall we live this brief time in the Light of God, reflecting His glory? Or shall we fade into the backdrop of darkness?
There is a beauty that resides in the hearts of God's children. It is a beauty that desires to surface in each of us. It is the Light of our Lord Jesus Christ, and it is the Light and beauty that will draw a darkened world to Him if we will only be His cameo in this short and brief appearance.

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