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To enjoy art, whether it is on canvas, in fabric (such as a quilt) or even in people who are in process, we do better to step back a bit and look at the overview, not the fine details.  When we do that, it is much easier to see the beauty that is there.

The story is that in some early American quilts, the women purposely turned a block the wrong way or in some way incorporated an error into the quilt “…because,” they said, “the only one who is perfect is God.”  And they didn’t want to compete for that role.  That practice continues today in some parts of the quilting community.

When it comes to relationships, they aren’t made to be perfect.  They show us what a broken world we live in.

Relationships show

  • How much we need Christ to heal our own brokenness.
  • How much we need Christ to even relate well to others. It just does NOT come naturally!  If you are married, you already learned that by now, I’m sure!
  • How the Trinity is a model for our relationships.

Within the Trinity, they

  • don’t seek perfection (as in being perfectionistic) from the others even though they are but,
  • rather seek to “glorify”/lift up the other. (If you are interested in some passages regarding this, ask in the comments.)

Isn’t our model of relationships one that

  • Seeks to “one-up” the other?
  • Or I may need to “put you down” with sarcasm,
  • Or “joking” that isn’t really funny,
  • Or…well, you know the ways you do it.

One thing I have learned by being in churches that have a mixture of ages is that there are those who are more mature in the Christian life than I am.  Others are in a different stage of life. I can learn from both.

I can’t say I always enjoyed what I learned.  For example, when I had teens and was struggling with attitudes that were difficult to deal with.  If I mentioned it around friends going through the same thing, we often commiserated, adding illustrations to the mix that reinforced the fact that our personal stances were correct.  

When I was with those who had passed through that stage of life and gotten to the other side, they were much more matter-of-fact about it.  As in “Yes, that’s a stage of life we go through and God gives us grace…sometimes to admit we are wrong to our children.” No, I didn’t always like what they had to say, but it was often what I needed to hear as I reflected on it.

Others in other stages can learn from me…whether I’m older or younger.  It is great for developing humility as well as a realistic view of our importance.  When God chooses to use something I have learned the hard way, to help another person, it is very humbling.  I gives meaning to my mistakes and stumbles along the way.

No matter what our weaknesses, frailties, sins and failures, successes, talents, accomplishments, and gifts…there is a mutuality as we learn from each other in love!  Somehow, God has designed things so that in this process we grow, messy as it is. So do those around us.  It certainly isn’t the way I would have designed it, but God knew best didn’t He?  Efficiency isn’t always best for growth!

Sometimes, we don’t even know we are teaching each other.  The mix of our different temperaments and different gifts is all beneficial.  Of course, that same mix can be challenging too!  And therein lies the rub.

Why do you think Scripture talks so much about forgiveness, reconciliation, redemption, oh yes, and GRACE?  These are not just words in the abstract, they are important, gut-level truths that affect us every day of our lives!

Are you growing from the quilt mix in the Body of Believers where you worship?  Do you appreciate the differences?  Aren’t you glad you aren’t all the same on days when you are feeling glum or grieving?  When you are weighed down with the burdens of responsibilities or grief, aren’t you glad there are others to encourage you, to make you laugh, to give you hope?

Are you willing to serve those around you on the days when they need encouragement or help?

That’s what it is like to be in a Church Community that is like a quilt.  Think about the ways your church is like a quiltor could be encouraged to be like one in ways that would be beneficial to all.  What do you think it would look like?  Feel free to Comment!