To Quilt, Perchance To Dream




Part of a Qult from HCOB

Once a week, some wonderful ladies from our church get together in the church library to quilt. They are usually gathered around their project and quilting away before I even get there in the morning. And what a fellowship it is—they laugh and talk and no sooner have they finished one masterpiece than they start on the next one.

 There are many things I don’t know much about: quantum physics; how to correctly identify the color mauve; and how to fold a fitted sheet. But the things I don’t know about quilting could fill all the books in that library. And so, with pad in hand, I asked them the other day, “Why exactly do you quilt? What possesses you to do it so faithfully? What do you get out of the experience?”

 It turns out that like so many things, a quilting group is a microcosm of larger community. Why? For starters, there are several different jobs to do that are distinct and are chosen due to the skills and giftedness of the individual. Some are good at piecing. Some concentrate on appliqué, which has something to do with affixing a decorative layer to the quilt top. Some stitching is tricky enough that not all will attempt it. And the group will defer to a very small minority when it comes to visualizing the concept of the entire piece and choosing colors that will complement each other.

 The group told me that they like the social nature of quilting and enjoy each other’s company. One added that she is always mindful of the good that the finished product will do, whether it be as a gift for someone who could really use the warmth or an auction piece that will raise money for a disaster victim. Another said that quilting was a creative outlet for her. Still another mentioned that “the feeling of creating something” was very satisfying.

 The tremendous time commitment, requisite patience and experience required to quilt are reflected in the median age of the quilter, which we’ll say for the sake of self-preservation is over 30! At first glance, the group seems fairly homogenous. But at second glance, the quilters are different people doing different jobs for different reasons while collectively producing one product. Industry produces goods using the same model. Our bodies work like that and, according to Paul, so should our churches: The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. (1 Cor 12:12)

 Although I love my sisters in the quilting group, I am glad that they don’t save me a place. My new-found knowledge has not prepared me for sinking a needle into their current project. I’d be scared to death to mess it up and afraid that someone might ask me to pass them a piece of mauve fabric! But I’m glad they do what they do and I’m extremely glad that I learned about the ways in which they are blessed by the work and how they eagerly anticipate being a blessing to others. If we all preached at the same time the only sound would be useless babble. If we all taught, there would be no one left to learn. The Bible says, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be?” (1 Cor 12:18). Each of us has a job to do, a piece to deliver, or a neighbor to bless. The 97-year-old member of the group doesn’t insist on choosing colors for group because her eyes are not what they once were. But she does what she can with a happy heart.

 Paul tells us that “God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. (1 Cor 12:24-26). When quilters function like this, a wonderful thing is born. When our churches function like this, so too will the results be a pleasant offering that will offer warmth to the poor, friendship to the lonely and beauty to the longing eyes of the forsaken.




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There is 1 comment

Good object lesson. Great way to illustrate what the church should be like as we work together.

October 29, 2010 - 14:04
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