One Piece Life

Tonight, my Mama and I make our annual trek to the quilts of the MMC Relief Auction . Thus, a reposting from the archives of The Sacred Everyday:

The last weekend of every May finds me among the colors and Mennonites of New Hamburg. Donning white gloves, I finger, stroke, trace. Rows of fabrics cut and sewn, countless seams and angles quilted and stitched, hang in brilliant splendor. The hues invite caress. I can’t resist: earthy log cabin, scrappy rail fence, vibrant stained glass. A myriad of patterns, explosions of colors. But in every aisle one finds a quiet “one piece.”

A swath of broadcloth in a single, solid shade, artful quilting is the hallmark of the “one piece.” No patches of colors, joined with countless seams, overpower delicate stitches. Single stitches that would have faded away, lost, on a many-seamed quilt, now gather on center stage. I soundlessly applaud. Gazing up at the expanse of beauty, I slip a gloved finger under the sheets of plastic, tracing the white threads on white cotton.

A one piece. No fragmenting. No tearing. No seams.

My existence yearns to be just that: a life of one piece.

Now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. They said therefore to one another, ‘Let us not tear it…’ (Jn 19:23).

Too long, the fabric of this life of mine has been torn up into secular and sacred. Yet such a dichotomy is mere façade, mirage.

The Bible makes no room for the idea of the secular. In biblical worldview, there is only the sacred and the profane, and the profane is just the sacred abused, unkempt, trampled down, trivialized, turned inside out. It is just the holy treated in an unholy way.” ~Buchanan

The Gospel, Jesus, comes to say life is meant to be all one piece. Jesus embodied the human and the divine. I can live a one piece life, an ordinary life that is wholly sacred, because the Holy Spirit resides within, this body now being the very house of God. Jesus very first miracle, turning the ceremonial cleansing water into wine for a wedding feast, thundered truth and shattered myth: there is no divide between holy and sacred.

God intended it all, every breath, to be received as holy. For He bestowed each one. Do I dare take the gift for granted? All might be treated as hallowed, coming down from our Father of the heavenly lights. All might be seen as sacred, pregnant with the possibility of spiritual acts of worship (Ro. 12:1). God wove life to be seamless, a tunic like Jesus’: one piece. For all is in Him. “In God…we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). “Where can I go from Thy Spirit? Or where can I flee from Thy presence” (Ps. 139:7).

God is everywhere: He is the continuous thread, weaving the world and all that is within it together. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.”

As His child, He calls me to come to Him in all things, at all times, to worship in spirit and in truth.

I need not a sanctuary. The kitchen sink will suffice.

As Brother Lawrence writes, “Our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than for ourselves.”

I peel carrots, scrub the toilets, clip little toenails, pull up the bedsheets. Might they be gifts to the Weaver? Might I stitch this design onto the broadcloth of my one piece life:

God be in my head, and in my understanding, God be in my eyes, And in my looking, God be in my mouth, And in my speaking; God be in my heart, And in my feeling; God be at my death And at my departing.” ~Walford Davies (to listen to hymn, click here)

Every moment presents opportunity to offer up my reasonable act of service. Of worship.
I wash these windows, Father, to give You glory.

Every moment offers opportunity to see and speak to Him who never leaves.

Father, my tongue is twitching to fire off here. I am on stimulus overload with crying baby, bickering kids, burning dinner and ticking clock. Father, may I have grace and mercy in this time of need?

Every moment is opportunity to glorify Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Do I spend this money on a book for my mind, or for food for the stomach of a starving child? Do I read the newspaper or a blog right now or spend time memorizing Scripture? How do I live?

It isn’t about legalistic, dead living. It is about He who is risen from the dead living with me and through me and in me, keeping company with me, directing me each step of the path.

Too often I fear I miss the burning bushes and just eat blackberries.

Earth is crammed with heaven,
and every common bush afire with God;
but only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit around it and
Pluck blackberries
.” ~Elizabeth Barret Browning

Do I see the presence of an ever-present God in the now and take off my shoes? Or do I sit around eating blackberries, oblivious to the holy ground of this moment?

Exasperated, I raise my voice to holler for kids to come… and stuff my mouth with blackberries. As I mutter over mittens and boots dropped at the back door, I tear the seamless weave. As I lecture in disgust over beds unmade, juice runs from my mouth, dripping on the torn scraps of my life. Do I not think that God is here, present with me? Do I forget that this moment is worship, as meaningful as Sunday morning in the sanctuary? Why do I rip up the fabric of my life, tearing God into a scrap there, so I might do as I please in this fragment here?

Sunday mornings find me unfolding my seamless white prayer shawl, spreading it over bowed head.

I yearn to be done with the insidious plucking of blackberries off burning bushes. They stain the white of one pieces. I desire to live bare foot: all is holy ground. Time to forsake the scissors and give up cutting and piecing. I am taken with the wonder of white stitches on seamless white cloth.

With a one piece shawl wrapping me, I set out for a one piece life.