Thursday, October 07, 2004

the quiltmaker's plan

I was working on a quilt block today. Just one – but it had 49 pieces in a 12 ½” square. That isn’t the most pieces I’ve ever done in such a small space but it was up there. The quilt block itself is part of a series that I ‘subscribe’ to at a local quilt shop that is called the ‘Saturday Surprise Sampler’. There a couple of set Saturdays a month where you go in and pick up your block – you have no idea what you’re getting until you get there. This goes on over the course of a year and in the end you have enough coordinated blocks to make a full size quilt – I’ve done it once before and it was quite fun. Anyways, I digress – it is quilting season after all.
I like instructions, I like to have them, I like to follow them (except when I’m cooking). I was really thankful for the instructions for this block because it was a lot of little tiny pieces. When I first looked at it I was quite dismayed by all the little tiny pieces and was quite sure I would screw it up. I wasn’t sure that I had what it takes to put all those little pieces into a pleasing whole. Would it look like the picture did – I said a little prayer and started in. I paid very careful attention to the instructions. I took my mother’s advice who had already done this block and managed to avoid her mistake. One of my little piles got turned the wrong way and at first I thought I could fix it but I couldn’t so I had to rip out a few seams and begin that set again. It seemed at first that I wouldn’t get anywhere and then suddenly the little pieces were making bigger sections which joined to bigger sections and at the end of the afternoon my block looked like the picture and I was quite pleased with the results. I had a few flower moments along the way.
Our church is collectively working on a course. The course is called Transformations – it comes with instructions (the Bible). The ‘picture’ that we’re all working toward is a transformed life (hence the name). Sometimes it seems as we walk the narrow path that there are just way too many little pieces that need to get into place. It’s overwhelming. However, the instructions are clear. We need to believe the truth – if we follow the instructions the end result will happen (God said it, I believe it). We need to have faith that the designer knows what they’re doing even though the task seems too big, too painful, too _________________(fill in the blank). We need to heed the advise of those that have already been there and here words of life that can help us avoid mistakes and pitfalls as we walk. When we mess things up, sew things on backwards or in the wrong place, we must repent, rip out that seam, read the instructions again and start over. Then there is the persisting. Just continuing to do what God has asked us to do. That would be called obedience – persisting in righteousness. As we persist we’ll see those loose pieces start to come together to form a whole. And yet our little piece is only one of many that makes up the body of Christ. God is a master designer, it says in Acts 17 that He has planned that we would be alive at exactly this time, living in exactly this place. He cuts, stitches and presses us so that we can be transformed from a pile of scrap cloth into a beautiful patchwork that is able to bring comfort, warmth and beauty to the world. No piece is too small for a quilter or for God to fit into His plan.

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