I was chatting with my sister-in-law on the weekend. She is an extremely talented seamstress and was showing me a project via FaceTime she was working on. One of the many things she excels at is quilting. She makes beautiful quilts that are prized by everyone who has one. It is also interesting that my first church had a quilting group called the Sharon Club. Each Tuesday afternoon they would meet in their quilting room and work on a quilt and have a social time in the process. Through these two avenues I have gotten a chance to observe some things about quilting that reflect the presence of God. Let me share what I am thinking.
First, quilts are often made by sewing lots and lots of small pieces of material together. The quilter joins these pieces together to make a beautiful pattern that reflects their creativity and skill. To me it is a lot like God with our lives. The Lord takes all the pieces of our lives and over time, through his sovereignty, puts them together to create a unique, beautiful piece of art. We are “new creations” Paul says - put together by Jesus Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV) Each quilt is different, just like us. We are a masterpiece of His grace. What an awesome thought to start off the week!
Secondly, quilts usually are done, generally, in community. In both the examples that I have cited, once a week these individuals gather with friends to share their love – their skills and their passion for quilting. Quilting creates bonds that go far beyond the material project. I am sure there is a lot of “encouragement”, “empathy”, “grace”, and “laughter” that goes into those conversations - interwoven with the work. It is a perfect picture, in so many ways, of the Body of Christ.
Thirdly, quilting yields joy. There is a real sense of well-being and enjoyment that comes from quilting. It is almost therapeutic. It takes the quilter outside of her/his problems to a place of peace. Again a beautiful picture of Christ’s ministry in us, through the work of the Holy Spirit. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27 ESV)
And finally, quilting reminds us of God’s grace. I am told that some folks, like the Mennonites, leave a small flaw intentionally in each quilt they make. It is put there to remind us of our imperfections and God’s response of grace.
In his book, “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” Philip Yancey describes a conference on comparative religions where experts from around the world debated which belief, if any, was unique to the Christian faith. C.S. Lewis happened to enter the room during the discussion. When he was told the topic was Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions, Lewis responded: “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
Grace, “The unmerited favour shown towards us in Jesus Christ” completes the picture with us just like it does the quilt. My prayer this day – this week - is that God’s grace will encourage us, empower us, and extend through us to a world that desperately needs His touch.
The next time you look at a quilt or put a quilt on your bed I hope this short reflection will come back to you. Remember you are God’s quilt and He is lovingly at work in and through you. You are beautiful and unique! Take care my friends – keep safe and keep in the love of Jesus. From an XXXL quilt (LOL) – Pastor Ralph