Wrapped in God’s Love


St. John’s has a long standing practice of gifting individuals receiving baptism, graduates of high school and university, and others going through life transitions.  It began with the baptism of infants.  They were given a receiving blanket embroidered with their name and date of birth with the assurance they were, are and will always be ‘wrapped in God’s love.’  In the past recipients were typically children, but since my call to the congregation it has expanded a little.  The recently widowed, widower-ed, moving away or into assisted living were given a prayer shawl or quilt, because in my mind, we are all ‘wrapped in God’s love.’

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Recently in the presbytery there was an ordination of a young woman as a Minister of Word and Sacrament.  It was a month short of my tenth anniversary of my own ordination.  I was reminded of the prayer shawl a congregation in the presbytery gifted me on the night of my ordination.  I had just finished a quilt intended for a congregation member recently entering a nursing home.  Sadly, they only lived a few days beyond the transition.  It is a quilt drenched in prayer and who needs it more than someone newly ordained.

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This was intended to be a simple Trip Around the World quilt.  Once I began placing the blocks on the design wall I decided I had to line up the strip blocks as much as possible.  Durn OCD.  Solving the puzzle was worth it, I think it turned out awesome!

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Exodus 29:29  The sacred vestments of Aaron shall be passed on to his sons after him; they shall be anointed in them and ordained in them.

Post Christmas – PreChristmas


I’m only a year late posting last Christmas’ quilt and realizing it is time to start thinking about this year’s Christmas projects.  This fabric was another find I couldn’t leave behind.  It was a layer cake I bought at the IQS in Gimli, MB.  The result was a lap quilt to donate to the church’s annual bazaar.

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Alas, it did not sell.  I gifted it to a wonderful and faithful member of the congregation.  She does not get out to Sunday morning worship any longer.  She has type of dementia that she handles fairly well by leaving post-in notes everywhere as a reminder.  She would call me Mondays after she had attended church with appreciative words for the sermon.  Not long after she would call again, same reason.  And then again, and again, until she remembered to throw out the post-in note reminding her to call me to tell me she appreciated my sermon.  It was a blessing.

I gave her this quilt at the end of the bazaar, just as she was preparing to leave.  During her ride home she mentioned to the driver someone had given her a lovely quilt.  The driver answered, “Yes, I know, the minister gave it to you.”

“Did she?!  How thoughtful of her.  A good preacher and generous too!  To bad I won’t remember to thank her.”

Psalm 119:49  Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.

For the Love of Fabric


As much as I try to convince myself otherwise, I am way beyond being a fabric collector.  I see something I like and I buy it, without thought of what it might become, or when I might get around to using it.

Here is another case in point.  I really, really, liked this fabric.  It was the combinations of colours that caught my eye.  They spoke Christmas to me.  Luckily, I belonged to a small gift exchange in the congregation and I made a table runner and four place mats for the church secretary.  She greatly dislikes birds, but assured me these were ‘okay.’

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Luke 12:24  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!

Tired and Retired


 

How does time pass so quickly?  It has been over two years since I have completed a quilt?  If you could see the pile beside the ironing board you might wonder, “How that could be?”  I have at least a half dozen tops that need binding, or sandwiching, or quilting.  Big Sigh!  I have been much too involved with work and just can’t seem to carve out time for hobbies.  I am tired.

May 2018 a colleague retired as the Executive Director of an important mission in the city and accepted a part time position as the Minister of Word and Sacrament for a rapidly growing indigenous congregation.  They refer to themselves as Oji-Irish, walking a blended spiritual journey of Indigenous and Christian belief and ceremony.  A person of great strength and immeasurable compassion.  To honour the occasion I designed this stole and it was gifted at a regular meeting of presbytery.  The colours of the Dakota Star and the cross are those of the Medicine Circle.  There are four bear paw blocks at the bottom of the stole.  These represent the individual as a member of  the Bear Clan. The eagle fabric on the back was chosen as it is part of the recipient’s name.   I know God’s Spirit will rest always upon them and richly bless their ministry.

Jeremiah 6:16 – This is what the Lord says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

True Joy


This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community, and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.

I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no “brief candle” for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.

George Bernard Shaw

 

John 15:11  I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

Friendship Ties


Our denomination encourages her clergy to pursue continuing education opportunities.  The seminary from which I received my degree offers courses in the summer that are often of interest.  In July of 2017 I flew west to attend a course on Sacred Dying.  Part of the attraction to return is spending some time with my friend, mentor and now, colleague.  She is wise and faithful, caring and lovely.  I have learned so much from her.  I have had the pleasure of staying with her and her husband on many occasions.  About time I brought a token of my gratitude for their hospitality.

This quilt is similar to one draped over the sofa in our living room.  The bow tie blocks had already been sewn together as an accent wall hanging to complement the throw in the living room.  I couldn’t envision a way of hanging the finished project, it was the width of a block and twenty feet long.  I ripped them apart and reconfigured them into this quilt.  Now my dear friend and I share similar quilts, in fact, the centre block that is slightly different from the rest in the quilt is exactly the same as blocks on the back of my quilt.  We are tied together, in faith, in friendship, in affection.  I give thanks to God for her.

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times, and kinsfolk are born to share adversity.

Three Score and a Day Ago


Three Score and a Day Ago my parents were married.  Ten years ago, on their 50th wedding anniversary, it snowed, quite alot.

Five years ago, I managed to get home to celebrate with them.  Dad, even though he still had some physical challenges from his first stroke, marked the day by enjoying one of his most favourite things in the world.  Along with his youngest daughter he burned the grass along the edges of the farm in preparation for the greening of spring.

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Today is Friday, typically a day off.  I putter on Fridays, the only thing I schedule is walking the dog, which I do every morning, and cook dinner.  The rest is puttering, laundry, dishes, quilting.  I catch up on the programs recorded on the DVR, usually it is The Big Bang Theory.  I’m feeling a little blue, the anniversary of my parent’s nuptials heightens how much I miss my dad who died September five years ago.  This was Chuck Lorre’s reflection #589.

Recently I was scrolling through the contacts list in my cell phone, when I came across an entry of a casual acquaintance who had died.  This was a very nice person, someone I enjoyed spending time with.  There was no real reason we didn’t become closer friends.  Just the usual excuses, busy lives, and tossed-off promises of lunches and dinners that would never come to pass.  Anyway, here was all this person’s contact information – email, phone numbers, etc.  Was I supposed to delete it?  I couldn’t think of a reason not to, but pressing the delete button seemed disrespectful, almost irreverent.  To die is one thing, to be deleted is quite another.  Instead, I took a deep breath and called the number.  It went to voicemail (thank God).  I then left a rambling message about how I wished we’d gotten to know each other better, and that I was sorry I didn’t follow up on one of our many threatened lunch dates.  It was a silly thing to do, but when I hung up I felt a small bit of closure.  The my phone rang.  I looked down and saw his name in the caller ID.  I froze.  The room started to spin.  My heart was pounding in my ears.  I took a deep breath, forced myself to press the accept button and put the phone to my ear.  It was his son.  He was confused as to why I’d called his late father.  I promised to explain it over lunch.  Date, TBD.

I have contacts in my phone like that.  Both of my very best friends from seminary.  I can’t bring myself to delete them.  Both deceased, one from cancer, the other a fall (?).  Coincidentally, it is (was) the latter’s birthday today.  My heart is breaking with love displaced to a realm beyond my knowing.

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Psalm 78:39
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return.