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IMG 1520 cropped enhanced web sizeRainbow Remembering
One of the advantages of having projects cancelled is that I have been able to complete several abandoned projects! One of them is a now completed design started several years ago during my “Dwell” series of artwork. Back then, it emerged unexpectedly after creating “Promises”, for which I had fashioned many different coloured knotted pieces of fabric to create the effect I wanted. 

I found that there were lots of leftover fabric knots and It seemed a shame to waste them, so I stitched them into a colourful crown of thorns, and began to use seed stitch to create symbolic representations of the many promises given to us as part of the Biblical narrative of the redemption of God’s people. It wasn’t a difficult design to complete but, oh so tedious...! I’m not particularly good at repetitive tasks, so I abandoned it for more interesting things...

Three years later, with a global pandemic creating enforced isolation and a need for something that didn’t tax my brain, I have found solace in the repetitive stitch, recalling the many promises contained within God’s word.

Harnessing Hope

IMG 8992 cropped square web sizeAs I stitched, it occurred to me that the rainbow nature of the crown is reminiscent of rainbows in many windows across the world just now, depicting the simplicity of our hope for the future. For Christians, this hope is embodied in our faith: in the God who can redeem the darkest and seemingly impossible times - into a story of life and renewal. We have seen this in the pages of Scripture many times, when all seems lost, God rescues his people from the brink of extinction. We can see God’s heart for his people in the New Testament where Jesus overcomes storms with calm, darkness with light, disease with healing, the guilt of sin with forgiveness, death with resurrection.

"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." Psalm 62:5

"For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer" Romans 12:12

Casting our Cares
In my design, the base of the crown of thorns, created from twisted black thread and representing the pain and darkness of the crucifixion- seems at this time, too, to represent the dark days we are living in.

Perhaps with honesty, we can come before our Father God to admit the pain that we are carrying at this time. Perhaps we may bring it all to God, leaving our dark days and interminable questions in his hands, so that he might take the burdens from us. For we are not meant to carry our burdens alone. Scripture tells us to…

"Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22

"Leave all your worries with him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:7

Rainbows from Rubble
Rainbow thorns on the crown depict the belief that, just as God created life out of death and  resurrection from crucifixion, so too, can God transform this global situation; that out of the darkness, pain, and brokenness can come beauty. From the sacrifice of many- kindness, gratitude, love and wholeness may emerge. Both are a costly sacrificial process, but so many of us have already been inspired and brought to tears by the simplest acts of kindness and solidarity shown by so many across the world. In the darkest of days, communities have come together to collaborate and share what they have, practically living the fruits of the spirit, creating rainbows from the rubble and ruin of this terrible situation.DSCF3217 cropped

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law… Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5: 22

"We are called….to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion –
to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…" Isaiah 61:1-3

Plethora of Promises
IMG 8992 cropped seedsThe myriad of stitches around the crown of thorns reflect the plethora of promises peppered throughout passages of Scripture, to all Gods people, some of which we see fulfilled in the pages of the Bible, some of which we still wait for.

Adversity often comes before change, and many before us have also seen terrible suffering and pain, yet we are encouraged to:

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” Romans 12:12

Through it all, however hard, we are asked to stand firm; trusting in these many promises of God….
- to be still and know that He is God
- that our God is Immanuel- God with us 
- that Jesus is Lord of all 
- that this, too will pass

"For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I wonder which Biblical promises help you to keep going in the face of such difficult days. Perhaps you would like to share them?

Small Seeds
Each stitched promise may seem like such a small thing yet combined they depict the breadth of God’s love for us all.
Small things matter, as many have found in these isolated times. Small seemingly insignificant seeds hold the potential to grow into great things. We are asked to pay attention to the small things; to do what we have been given to do where we are right now...no matter how small, or seemingly insignificant... the potential of small actions seem embodied in the actions of Captain Tom in these last few days. With seemingly little to offer, he did what he could, with what he had, where he was, and in doing so captured the attention of a world grieving and searching for something positive amidst the global, bleak news.

This is all we are asked to do…. To be faithful in the smallest of things, offering to our communities and the world what we have been given, doing what we can, where we are. This is enough.

IMG 8992 cropped square vignette"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much." Luke 16:10

Do not despise the small things we have each been given. They may not seem much now, but it is the smallest action offered in kindness that can reduce us all to tears of gratefulness.... I wonder, what is your “small thing”? What small gifts can you use to create seeds of hope in the empty space surrounded by the crown of thorns; the empty space in each of our lives created by this terrible pandemic?

I pray that we may each be mindful of the present moment and use whatev er we each have, no matter how small for the good of others.
Let us each strive to live the rainbow that God intends us to live...

 

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