I confess, I am a forger. Not of Rembrandts, nor dollar notes, but of dominos, and not the fast food, but the tiles. I find the quiet geometry of the tiles pleasing. Unlike cards, where designs can be quite intricate and artistic, the attraction of dominoes lies in the pure simplicity of perfectly round dots and balanced layout. The aesthetics of the dominos led me into forgery. Here’s how…
Recently, a supermarket chain had a promotional give-away using dominos. I decided to collect a set. The tiles were white plastic things, with movie cartoon characters on the back. Customers received tiles according to the amount of the purchase, though in practice I found that if I asked for a tile, the person on checkout usually gave me several. It will come as no surprise to you to learn that by the time the promotion ended, I did not have a full set. I had plenty of duplicates, though, and I discovered that if I was very careful, I could scratch off a dot, almost indiscernibly, or use a fat black Texta to add a dot (certainly not indiscernible). So I was seduced into domino forgery. Using my spares, I made a full set. Visitors were impressed!
As a child, I played dominos, but without much success. In part, this might have been due to the fact that when I was very young, I needed to place all my tiles face up, and consequently ruthless siblings could see my hand. I learned from experience, and as an adult, I reversed the strategy in order to make sure my children could have a satisfying game.
Dominos can be used for things other than games and supermarket promotions. The most impressive use are those long lines of dominos, each stood on its short edge and placed so that its fall will knock over the next domino in the sequence. When the first tile is toppled, it knocks over the second, which hits the third, and so on. Dedicated domino downers can set up long and complicated chains of dominos, whose intricate overall pattern only becomes apparent after they topple.
Those patterns of domino lines also provide an image for our Christian lives, as individuals and as a community of faith. Imagine a long line of dominos, forking off many, many times. It stretches back to Jesus, and his ministry on earth, and maybe even further, and all the way forward to us, and beyond. Each domino is an act of hospitality, or caring of one person for another. Each of us is part of that pattern. The first domino falls, and then, one by one, branching out across the world and time, the other dominos topple, as each person reaches out and touches another with some act of caring, until we are touched and we in turn touch others. The lines and curves of dominos make up a pattern that slowly emerges. It is the pattern of the community of God, the kingdom of God, on earth.
If you are down with the dominos in one area, you can’t see the whole pattern, but only your little neighbourhood. Sometimes that may seem a bit rushed or chaotic. Part of faith is trust that God who loves the world will create good throughout the whole of the dominos.
We are part of the pattern of dominos, as individuals and also as the community of God meeting at Scots Church. What is your place in the pattern? Who is around you? Take a little time this month to remember those who have touched you with acts of welcome, hospitality, caring. And strive to touch others with acts of kindness. Rev Dr Peter Trudinger
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