Here is a response, from my friend Gill Henwood, to the recent posts on darkness and light.
The photo above relates to the reflection below.
There are many ways we can express the insights of Scripture, and using crafts like needlework or quilting are two such powerful ways. So often the study of God’s word to us are expressed in a cerebral way, yet, throughout the ages reflection on Scripture is often expressed though art, music, sculpture, crafts, to name but a few. Gill offers an insight about this.
I recently was part of an online workshop ‘Sutura Dei’, led by Miriam Jessie Fisher from New Zealand. Miriam shares her stories of women in the Bible and the inspiration they are to us in 2022. Her work is presented through stitching including quilts and poetry. After reflection on the hiddenness, exile and journeys of Eve and Hagar (in Genesis) expressed in beautiful quilting, we were invited to use stitching ourselves.
I had found an old curtain – a Laura Ashley fabric c 1985 – and cut off a piece, and some rather worn lining from the back. I only had three thread colours: black (which became my wanderings), white (God’s presence), and cream (the Spirit blowing where it wills).
Out of my first messy black dark wilderness wandering stitches in exile, I found God had been there, when I threaded the white – through all the twists and turns, and, through knots in the cotton at points he had held me safe.
The lining scrap was my grubby self, still connected but loosely – discarded litter but almost a kite, ready to fly… I found myself threading the cream and black into the needle together. The loose chain stitches linked my journey with the Spirit’s. I left the needle in because the story and the journey are yet to unfold….
I realised at the end of the quiet stitching time that the fabric was an underlying paradise garden that had been there all the time. I glimpse hints of paradise often out in the fells of the Lake District and in gardens. These glimpses are gifts when the Spirit stirs, bringing light into my darknesses.
Yes, I’m the rough lining, utilitarian and dull, but glorious paradise is intimately near, and we are stitched together through hiddenness, exiles and journeys.
May God be present with us in darkness still, till light dawns and paradise is glimpsed anew….