Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sacred Threads

I still haven't finished the Bon Appetit table runner, but I started a new project.

There's a quilt exhibition this summer, called Sacred Threads, and the submission deadline is mid-March.

I've had a quilt rumbling around in my head for a while, or at least the idea that I need to make a quilt based on this inspiration, but I've not had reason to sit down and work it out. Until now.

After much playing and trial & error in EQ7 I have arrived at the perfect design, bought fabrics (luckily coinciding with a fabric sale at my favorite semi-local quilt shop), started cutting.....I cannot wait to finish this.

So much of me is in this quilt....the inspiration comes from three songs, and sums up what it means to me to be a Christian.

Oceans of Love: the beginning
As with most of my quilts, it is full of symbolism and meaning. The colors were chosen based on one of the three songs, White, by Mike Rayson. This song uses the primary colors as a symbol of God's gift to humanity of his son, Jesus. Yellow, a baby born to die; red, the price He paid with his blood to save us. Blue, a river of mercy, forgiving us, making us His own. The white, likewise from that song, a symbol of how God looks at us (pure, clean and perfect) once we trust in and accept His gift to us of salvation through His Son.

The pattern is a Storm at Sea pattern, with a slightly tweaked arrangement to get a square layout instead of a rectangle, because I wanted the central cross to be just a bit less "cross shaped."  The pattern was chosen, though, because of the second song, After the Last Tear Falls, by Andrew Peterson. This song talks about how, in the end of everything, when all pain is over and done with, when we feel we can't go on one more moment, when all seems helpless and hopeless, there comes one more thing after all of that: love. Oceans and oceans of love, God's love which upholds us, strengthens us, carries us through all those hard, impossible, hopeless feeling things. We will get through those things, and once through to the other side of them we will see, we're carried in His hands, in an ocean of love. It speaks of end times, but I like to think of it as individual ends, each time we come through a last tear falling for any given situation, still God's love is there, all around us. And in the true end, the big End, still it will be God's love that wins out. So, Storm at Sea. Because in the storms of life, we're still in a sea of love.

The center is the most ambiguous and hard to capture, but comes from the song Bang a Drum, by Jon Bon Jovi; I love how this song challenges us each to care about others. To speak up for the voiceless, to help the helpless, to hold true to our beliefs, to never forget that we are all, each one of us, interconnected, and thus to go and live life in a way that honors that. And so, in the middle, "drums" -- I muted the colors of the outer edges, because our actions can only ever be approximations of walking in God's love; we can't accomplish it without Him. The white comes into the center, bringing us the gift of Christ; the flesh tone rays spread out, into the darkness, carrying the light of Christ into the world as we help one another, be that shoulder to lean on during the dark times, give a helping hand, pray for one another, minister to one another, etc.

I thought of examples like the Good Samaritan, stopping to care for a wounded traveler. Sharing God's love doesn't necessarily mean preaching and using words; it often means acting. Doing. Being. Taking dinner to the family of a cancer patient. Babysitting for the single mom down the street. Driving a friend to a doctor's appointment when her car is broken down. Hiring an out of work contractor to paint your house, because he won't accept a handout but will gladly take on a job. Donating food to the food bank, blankets to a shelter, time to volunteer, and so on. It's us, Christians, doing these things, being the hands & feet of Jesus, that pushes back the darkness, that helps to carry one another through those times we feel far away from God's love. It's us, living out the commands to love God with our whole heart, and to love our neighbor, that fulfills the law, that becomes part of that sea, that ocean of love.

We are all an intricate part of God's plan, sometimes off in the dark, sometimes in the center of His will banging a drum, sometimes carrying His light to the corners that need it most. And so, finally, with the Sacred Threads exhibit as a catalyst, I've designed this quilt. I hope I can pull it off in time, and as well as it deserves....

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