Yesterday evening I heard a great quote : ‘we are living in times when the cloth is being woven.’ I found these words very evocative and have been wondering why! You know how certain lines just suddenly hit you at an instinctive level, bypassing your reasoning and going straight to a moment of recognition. Aha…yaaas…I didn’t realise I was waiting for these words to land in my life, but now that they are here they really describe/evoke/ define/inspire…etc., take your pick! I wonder if there have been any words, or images that have had that effect on you recently?
When there is such wholesale change in our world and with more to come, our inner compass is looking for signs and clues that can help make some sense of what is happening. The phrase, the cloth being woven did that for me!
Firstly I think it is because I am a great lover of tweed materials …I love the earthy robustness, the natural colours, the longevity and the sheer coolness of wearing something that is so rooted in my Scottish identity.
Secondly weaving a cloth is a creative process that takes various threads and materials…in the case of tweed , starting from the wool of a sheep, and through weaving then together emerges a whole new …scarf, jacket, waistcoat, bag, etc etc, that did not exist before. That we weave together a variety of threads from different sources and with different colours and even textures, speaks very powerfully to the way in which differences can enhance and enrich a community, a church, a world.
Thirdly weaving can often include threads that have come from material that has been unravelled and now can be re-purposed. I love this last one particularly as it really speaks to our context as it seems things are being taken apart and we have a chance to weave them together again in a repurposed and fresh way. Also in our own lives God can take our varied experiences, even the ones we wish had never happened, and our personal weaknesses and weave them together with our joys and confidences into a richly multi textured life. The Apostle Paul was alluding to this when he said in Colossians 2:2 I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.
As we look ahead at the next few months we see hopeful threads…being allowed to gather in a bubble at Christmas, three vaccines that look promising for the spring, that in less than 4 weeks the days will start getting longer again, Christmas services and carols online and so on. Let’s see what we can each of us weave over these winter months. Traditionally the winter months in the highlands of Scotland were when these house-based activities such as weaving and spinning were primarily done. Who knows perhaps this season will be a very memorable one for us in ways we don’t expect.
(The phrase the cloth being woven is embedded in a fuller quote: I think we are back to square one. We may timidly admit that we are living in times when the cloth is being woven, when we have to tell one another the basis of our hope, the questions we have and join with each other in the expression of our faith. (Gert Ruppell World Council of Churches 1995). It is 25 years since this was said regarding the mission of the church at that time and it is still true today.)
Rev. Paul Watson