Mosaic has two meanings:
It is a decoration or picture or made from pieces of pieces of inlaid stone, glass, etc. invariably in different colours. These pieces and colours are usually arranged arbitrarily, although in some applications, like the pixels you are seeing on your PC screen now, each piece has a deliberate colour and position to form a larger picture. This technology is also used to give a mosaic effect on an image of somebody's face, to hide their identity. The word mosaic is used as a noun, adjective or verb.
- The other meaning is always as an adjective and the word is always capitalised. It is used to relate to the prophet Moses (as in Mosaic Law, Mosaic period, Mosaic Judaism, etc).
Since Moses was born well over 1,000 years before the Cross became a Christian symbol, the former definition is understood when referring to the Mosaic Cross, that is, a cross brightened up with small coloured segments. (See also Rainbow Cross.)
But why attempt to brighten up a cross?
The Christian cross is used in many different settings; one being the stained glass window of a church. A Mosaic Cross in a necklace, for example, hints of a church setting and helps to 'Christianise' the symbol which might otherwise appear simply as jewelry.
A further use is to make appealing games for children. As a Sunday school teaching aid, it can show how an artist can move the randomly arranged broken pieces (shown here on the right) and make a beautiful Mosaic Cross. In the same way, Jesus can take the broken pieces of our lives and make us whole. Also, the multi-coloured mosaic design could help focus specific elements of the cross. The centre piece for example, can be interpreted like the Glory Cross. (See Mosaic Cross worksheet)
Although a Mosaic Cross is divided into pieces, the profile is preserved. Just as a rainbow is the sum of all its colours, the human race is the sum of people from all races and beliefs.