Monday, February 13, 2017
The Power of Tiny Things
A quilt over one hundred years old hangs on our family room wall, pieced and quilted by a group of women who met weekly to sew at Center United Methodist Church on the south side of Indianapolis.
We lived in the parsonage next door to the church for six years from 1983 to 1989. Sarah was five years old and Anna was born a year later.
The sewing ladies met in an old farmhouse one quarter of a mile from the church every Wednesday from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm. Those who attended packed a lunch and took a break close to noon to eat.
A couple of times a month Anna and I walked through the cornfields between the parsonage and the farmhouse and visited the women. We admired their handwork.
Anna and I enjoyed watching the ladies make quilt after quilt, marveling at the speed and efficiency of their hands. Toddler Anna delighted in the attention these "grandmas" gave her as they stitched and talked to her with love and warmth. They even let Anna explore the space under the quilting frame that was like a little cave with the quilt-top forming the "roof."
A New Quilt Top
One year a friend of one of the women gave the group a stack of ten quilt tops made by her recently deceased mother. The sewing ladies decided to quilt each top. A few were used in the annual church auction while others were purchased by people in the church.
When Anna and I were visiting a few weeks later, the ladies announced that they were giving the almost-finished quilt in the frame to me!
I was astonished! We weren't moving, which is often the occasion for special gifts. They wanted me to have the quilt as an expression of their love for me, Anna, Sarah and Mike.
The quilt has hung on the wall of every parsonage or home ever since, occupying a place of honor and pieced remembrance from the hearts of loving women.
Recently, I was looking at the quilt thinking how it has been the backdrop for many Christmas trees and pictures of Sarah and Anna. I marveled at the hundreds of tiny stitches holding the quilt together.
There is power in each stitch, for if one or two come out or break, the quilt will pucker, hang unevenly, and its beauty will be compromised.
I reflected on the power of other tiny things - how an inch-sized postage stamp can carry the range of sentiments from one person to another. How the small cap on my tire holds the air and maintains pressure so I can drive my car. The tip of my pen enables me to record my thoughts on paper.
Jesus, too, speaks of the power of small items to explain the kingdom using a mustard seed, yeast, salt and a pearl. Yeast shows how faith will grow and expand (Matthew 13:31-33). The value of life in the kingdom is more valuable than hidden treasure or a pearl (Matthew 12:44-45). Salt reflects how Christians shine for God by brining out the best in others (Matthew 5:13-14).
Look around as you go about your day. What tiny objects do you find? What is the value of these small items? I can think about the importance of sugar crystals or drops of cream that flavor many cups of coffee each morning.
Every single day I enjoy the quilt given with so much love by the women at Center Church. I notice the importance of each stitch that holds the layers of fabric and batting together reminding me that tiny beginnings described by Jesus are the nature of faith.
Prayer: God, so many times in our lives we are consumed with big things - big house, big cars, big vacations. Help us step aside, alter our vision and bring us to an awareness of "tiny things" that can grow and deepen our faith, and trust in you. Amen.