“It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn’t seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand.” ― Maria von Trapp
“We’re each single threads woven together in a tapestry God has created. Only he sees the full picture, but not even a sparrow falls without his knowing.” ― Francine Rivers
Tapestries have expressed beauty and provided decoration for at least 3400 years, going back to the ancient Egyptian civilization. Skillful weavers left their mark on civilizations on many continents, including the Chinese in Eastern Asia, the Persian in Western Asia, the Andean in South America, and the French and Belgian in Europe. During the middle ages, tapestries grew in favor because they could be transported from residence to residence (by those who could afford them) and were draped on castle walls for insulation during winter. Churches would display tapestries with Biblical themes on special occasions.
You’ve probably seen pictures of tapestries being woven on looms, with their taut vertical threads and the colorful intersecting horizontal threads. The vertical yarns are called the warp and must be strong enough to be held in high tension during the weaving process. While the warp yarns are not visible in the finished product, they do provide the structural “backbone” for the tapestry. The horizontal threads, called the weft (or woof), carry almost no tension and so do not have to be as strong as the warp; they are dyed in many colors and create the image that is visible in the finished tapestry. In medieval times, weavers chose from among twenty colors that came from crushed plants, minerals and insects; today, weavers can choose from a palette of about 1,000 hues.
During this year’s Lenten season, we are sharing in a sermon series called “Tapestry: Finding Yourself in God’s Story.” Throughout this series, we’ll be exploring seven major types of stories that are found in Scripture (and in literature) and reflecting together on what these stories teach us about our life in God. The overall metaphor of a tapestry will reflect on the idea that God is the master weaver and our lives are the individual threads that are woven throughout the rug, often with many twists and turns. As singular threads, we don’t always have the perspective we need to be able to see the grand design of what God is up to; but as participants in God’s story, we catch occasional glimpses that help us see the good God is gradually bringing about in creation and through history.
I heartily invite you to participate in this year’s 40-Day Spiritual Adventure. The 40-Day Commitment insert in the Family News provides a broad listing of personal and communal ways in which you take part. May God bless each of us as we continue to take part in God’s great story and be woven into God’s great tapestry.