In 1967 a poem by Kaila George draws an analogy that likens life to a woven piece of art. It's entitled, "Life is a Tapestry." In it she paints a mental picture that harkens back to the Renaissance Era between the 13th and 17th centuries. Tapestries in that day were massive in size and adorned all the great halls and castles all over Europe. They ranged from depicting the action of victorious battles, to the serenity of a placid countryside, and with a balanced mix of both the bright vibrant colors and the muted darker colors. Ironically, the black threads (the absence of color) was always a vital and defining component.
Yet, if you were to step around to the backside of those same tapestries you would see what would seem like chaos: Threads running haphazardly, random knotting and especially threads hanging down everywhere.
It's a pictorial semblance of life at times, especially those times of grief and suffering - elements that inevitably go into the making of each of our own life's tapestries.
Matthew 17:1-9 describes Jesus' transfiguration in the presence of Peter, James & John, and though they may not have understood at the time; it was their sneak preview of the glory they too would share when their own tapestries were finished. Yet all they seemed to understand was what Jesus had told them preceding this transformation.
First, Jesus informed them of His suffering and death.
Second, He told them of the suffering and death they would experience, when they would take up (their) own crosses.
Even in light of this revelation, these three disciples didn't get it, and became discouraged. They failed to see that Jesus' predicted suffering and death was key to their (and all of mankind's) salvation. Jesus did not save the world by His words or miracles. It was only by the Cross. It is the Cross that tells us that whatever the suffering, be it, grief, loneliness, unemployment, pain linked to surgery or frustration over the inability to break a sin pattern, none of it is ever in vain!
Jesus' own pain, suffering, and death was not in vain because of what would happen on the third day.
Likewise, our pain & suffering will not be in vain because of what will happen on the last day.
Though it seems every bit as random, pointless and meaningless as those dangling threads of a tapestry's backside, Jesus gives us a glimpse at our own shockingly beautiful work-in-progress. We're only to take our eyes off that backside.
At Communion we share in the Cross' message of forgiveness & redemption. It's a time to listen for His voice in the silence of your heart and have the ability to see the masterpiece that is being for woven for you.
In 1971 Corrie Ten Boom's book The Hiding Place was published. It contains a poem she wrote after studying one of those early century tapestries as it hung in a German Cathedral. Her 5 stanza poem reads:
My life is but a weaving
Between God and me
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily
Of't times He weaves sorrow
And I in my foolish pride
Forget that He sees the upper
And I see the underside
Not 'till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal all the reasons why
The dark threads are needful
In this Weaver's skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He cares, He loves
Nothing this truth can dim
He gives the best to those
Who leave the choices to Him.
-Jerry K., Sure Foundation Church, 8/14