Reflections on Sunday's Service (November 8th)
From the Pastor
Stitching a New
“The old threads are unraveling, get your needles ready.” These words from Julia
Myers speak right to this moment. Because this year has unraveled so much.
Unraveled our plans and also our illusions- - illusions about law enforcement and
Black and Brown people, illusions that science would prevail in a pandemic or that
our economic system is working for most of us, when we have seen that essential
workers often don’t have the essentials on which to live. And we lost some of our
illusions about the strength of our democracy, when we saw not everyone in
government can be trusted to follow established norms. But having illusions
unravel means what is left for us to see underneath is the truth. And in our
tradition, it is the truth that sets us free.
The threads of lies and fear and hate, have shown themselves to be fragile and
“The old threads are unraveling…”
The threads are there, but they proved themselves weak. The threads of nativism
and homophobia couldn’t hold. The threads of sexism and xenophobia broke. The
threads of white supremacy are there, but they were outnumbered.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t still woven into the fabric of our nation and in our
communities, but it does mean that more of us want these old threads to remain
in the quilts of history. And that is cause for celebration.
It feels like we have some scraps before us, pieces of all shapes and sizes. And we
need to build something that includes all of these pieces. As the writer says, It is
indeed “a revolution of recycled wears,” which means we must work with what is,
not trying to use something or someone we have yet to find or to be something
we are not.
Perhaps you saw the essay by George Packer, who wrote last week, that “There’s
no escaping who we Americans have become: This is the election’s meaning. We
are stuck with one another, seeing no way out and no apparent way through,
sinking deeper into a state of mutual incomprehension and loathing. The possible
exits—gradual de-escalation, majority breakthrough, clean separation, civil
war—are either unlikely or unthinkable. We have to live and govern ourselves
together, but we still don’t know how.”
But you do you know what? I have learned that we don’t have to know how to
stitch something new to see for sure that the, “The old threads are unraveling.”
And we should celebrate!
We have survived a season of ripping up, of tearing apart and tearing down. That
is so much easier than creating and stitching something new, but that must be our
business now. We will use the pieces we have, whatever scraps are before us,
pieces of all shapes and sizes, whether they are tattered and worn or luxurious-
we must sew, mend, make and weave our way forward.
As Sarah mentioned, weavers often joke, that you have to be warped to
weave. This made me think of the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King who
spoke of being maladjusted for the cause of love and justice. He wrote, “The
saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through complacent
adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment
of a nonconforming minority.”
So maybe what is needed right now is fore more of us to be warped to what is, to
be creatively maladjusted, so we aren’t blinded to the world God wants us to see?
Now that many of us can breathe a sigh of relief for a minute, after we celebrate
and rest, soon we must get busy weaving. With more of us being maladjusted to
the normals of meanness, scarcity and fear. With more of us remaining warped to
policies that continue to make it expensive to be poor, policies that make it easier
to get a gun than to vote, policies that keep us in endless wars. We don’t want it
to be that our life doesn’t change by the man’s elected. We want change. So we
I think the next weeks and months could be rocky between the virus and the
violation of precedent, we could be in for some turbulence. And yet, we know
that those of us who are already stitching something new, are woven together in
unity and love, and we will remain steadfast for one another. We don’t need unity
among all of us, if enough of us are warped weavers of another way, creatively
maladjusted. We can be that hub of hope, the place where makers, builders,
sewers, shakers, weavers, fixers of all kinds find a home. So let us hold onto the
threads we have, using whatever pieces we have, whatever shape they are in,
whether tattered and scattered. The work is hard, and it makes us bleed. This is
stitching a new… “The old threads are unraveling.” Bring whatever you have,
From the Associate Pastor
Writing this mini-sermon was challenging this week. How to weave together some thoughts and
reflections about Caring Ministry and something about the state of country during this election
season – pre and post.
So in my unease & anxiety on Thursday afternoon I took my notebook out to the horses to see
what wisdom that they might have for me and all of us. My mind was jumbled. My breathing
shallow. My shoulders tight. I was holding tension and feeling blocked. As I sat there watching
Sweetie, Bonnie & Clyde, Kiona the barn cat jumped in my lap. My breathing deepened being in
their presence. Clyde walked up to me. Bonnie & Sweetie looked right at me from a distance,
licking and chewing. I started to feel lighter, less jumbled and anxious.
A question – How do we heal? What will we stitch together from the shreds and scraps? How
do I, how do we, re-purpose and recycle the hate, abuse, neglect, fear, judgement?
The horses moved closer to one another. Calmly. Easily. They need each other, support each
other. Are present for each other. There is no judgement. They are calm, confident, reliant, at
ease. They are separate and united at the same time. I think back to a recent disagreement
they had over hay – there was a 10 second bout of squealing and kicking and then a few
seconds later, they were grazing together again peacefully.
How do we achieve this? Is this the sewing of colorful threads of peace, kindness, respect and
compassion? What quilt of beauty can we create if we slow down, respect one another for who
we are and what we bring to the world no matter our size, age, color, gender, ability?
I watch the herd move one step at a time and come to stand together in the shelter looking out
at me. Breathing deeply. Each one strong, quiet, independent, and yet connected, peaceful,
unified. Blowing out, licking and chewing, yawning, letting go. This herd … they are survivors of
trauma, loss, injuries, illness, abandonment and now they stand together – brave, resilient,
curious, relaxed, one. I hear the message “We’re in this together” as I sit in the sun and notice I
feel calmer, more at peace, grounded, deeper breathing.
This new quilt of humanity, of life. It may not be easy to make. Our fingers may bleed, our
hearts may hurt, there may be some squealing and kicking and yet as the horses remind me –
We are in this together. It takes each of us stitching, mending, and finding the threads that
bring us together. We need each other to thrive and to complete the quilt.
With God’s help, let us reach out to one another in this congregation who are hurting, lonely,
struggling, or grieving. Reach out to those in our families, community and country who
think/believe differently than ourselves. Take a breath, say a prayer, pick up your imaginary
needle and start stitching this new quilt – we need each other to mend and create this new