The first quilt that I remember my mother making, was put on my brother’s bed. She must have sewn it during the day when we were at school because I never recall seeing her sewing it. However, when it was finally put on the bed, it was like looking at a treasure-trove. I never knew my mother was such a hoarder, but it was exciting to look at all the different coloured patches, and remember the past. Somehow it was like looking at a photo album. It helped our family recall the many outfits and some of the things that had happened while wearing those garments.The making of a second patchwork quilt was a much more ordered affair. Whereas the first one was made of irregular shapes, and a real mixture of colours, this second masterpiece was carefully constructed with hexagonal shapes.
It had a definite pattern, with limited colours, and all the material had been bought especially for the job. I know my mother took great pride in the fact that every single stitch on that quilt was done by hand.
Looking at that first quilt reminds me of a family, the way it is joined at every seam, with an arrangement of different colours and shapes, but connected as a close-knit crew, with the stitches of love and tolerance. Each person has a distinct and special ‘colour’ and design, but it all blends. Love joins the members together, and, just as the joined patches make a quilt to keep us warm, so does the love and support of a family.Sometimes I think we expect our church family to be a much more ordered group of people, ones that fit carefully into our design of things. But no, we should willingly accept the wide variety and colour of different personalities, cultures, and giftings. Each person has a distinct history and story of God’s grace and love toward them, and it doesn’t matter that they may be unlike us.
Let us stitch together with love, both our family members and all others that we mix with.The Message Bible puts Gal. 5:22,23 in this way: “But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
If only we could live out these words in our church family and in all other relationships!
‘How good and pleasant it is when brethren live together in unity!’ Ps.133:1
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