The Sermon in my pocket

Working on military monuments and sculptures, I talk with service members I encounter to learn more about their stories. One of the small details of military culture I’m learning about is the challenge coin. These are special coins given by units or individuals to other service members when they have served together.

They are presented in a hand shake; few words exchanged; everyone just understands. Everyone in the military knows about the coins and most will always have one close at hand. So, I created a coin to give when I want to express gratitude to a member of our military.

It is received well every time I “coin” someone unexpectedly.

In my work as a sculptor I am surrounded by people who understand the meaning of service. My sculptures primarily fall into two categories, Military and Faith. So, it seems appropriate that my clients whose service is expressed through their faith should have a coin as well. The most impacting piece I have created for my Faith line of sculptures is “The Calling”; Christ calling Peter to leaves his nets and follow Him. Early on, I thought about this image as appropriate for those who are in full time Christian service. “The Calling” was something I had heard about; growing up the son of a pastor. I now understand that the calling of Christ is for all of us, not only for the ordained.

“The Calling…my life is my answer” seemed to be the best words to capture the idea that it is more than the moment where I may have said “yes”. It is how we live every day of our lives that is really our answer.

On the reverse I placed words to encourage. “Stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” The hands in the center are actually mine; sculpting the clay. They represent two truths. The first is that every day we shape what our lives will become through our choices, the work of hands, and our answer to His calling. The second truth is that we are sculpted by our creator when we allow Him to shape and mold us.

My desire for the coin is that we will carry it. Every time you reach for your keys or some change, mixed in with the busyness of the day will be this small bronze sermon. You will be reminded again of His calling and be encouraged to stand firm in the faith; be courageous and strong.

The final detail on the “Calling Coin” is found on the edge; easy to overlook. The words of Isaiah, “Here am I; send Me”, are a simple reminder that we must always remember “The Calling” in every moment, in every encounter, and in every place.

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