Saturday, September 6, 2014

God's Quilting Guild

7 September 2014

Dear Violet,

            As I read this letter to you, you are with your family waiting for your baptism into the Christian family.  Outside the weather is bright and warm as it has been for most of this summer in the Lower Mainland and across the province.
            Because it is such a nice day and a Sunday, most people are busy playing or walking or riding their bikes.  Some are shopping, while others are sitting across the street at John and Maddy’s coffee shop, sipping coffee while they read or talk with friends.
            Many of these people know that Saint Faith’s is a church and some may know that it is an Anglican church.  But most of them really don’t know what is going on hear today nor do they know what we do throughout the week for our neighbours, far and wide.
            I’m sorry that they don’t know what we are doing, especially what we are doing today.  Why am I sorry?  Because today we are doing something that we hope will make a difference in their lives and in the lives of people we do not know or whom we have never seen.  We are baptizing you and that is something very important.
            Your baptism is important because this has been a very hot and dry summer in more ways than can be measured by a thermometer and a rain gauge.  It’s been a hot summer when we have seen just how much more needs to be done in our world so that all children can grow up into loving and compassionate adults and so that old people can live in peace without fearing for their own lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren.
            Here in British Columbia our teachers, our government and our parents are caught up in a great debate about what is the best way for our schools to educate our children and how we should compensate our teachers.  South of the border in the United States, events in a small town near Saint Louis, Missouri called Ferguson have reminded us that the colour of a person’s skin still matters when it comes to their treatment by police.
            In the Ukraine we see a larger and more powerful country, Russia, acting as a bully and using its influence to encourage people who may have real grievances to enter into armed conflict with their neighbours and their rightful government.  In the countries of the Middle East there are people who use religion as a weapon against people who have different beliefs.
            These are just some of the ways this summer has been so hot.  But today God is pouring some needed rain upon our dryness, rain that comes to us in the form of the waters of baptism.  Today God acts to provide our world with someone who will join with others to cool things down:  God is giving us you, Violet Jane, and God is giving you to everyone whom you will meet throughout your life.
            Violet, God’s world is like a quilt.  It is made up of many beautiful pieces:  animals, plants, people, land, oceans and sky.  What’s important is that all these pieces stay together; by themselves they do not do what God created them to be and to do.
            The problem with quilts is that, as beautiful as they are, they have to be cared for.  Because they are made up of many different pieces of cloth stitched together, they can come apart at the seams.
            You see, Violet, from the very beginning of time God has been working to help people understand that our differences are pieces of a glorious quilt rather than reasons to hate one another and to tear God’s creation apart.  But we still have a long way to go before everyone understands this.
            So today God will give you a special life-long job; you are going to become one of God’s quilters.  God wants you to do two things:  mend the seams when they begin to unravel and add new pieces to the quilt whenever you can.
            When you see friends arguing, the seams of the quilt are unraveling.  God wants you to help your friends stop arguing and to re-discover their friendship.  When you yourself are not happy and at odds with your family or your friends, the seams of the quilt are unraveling.  God wants you to take the first step by asking for forgiveness and by working to renew your friendships and family relations.
            When you see people who are lonely, God wants you to reach out and make them part of the quilt.  When you see people treated badly because they have different beliefs or come from a different culture or have a different skin colour or however they may be different from you and your friends, God wants you to see only beauty in them and to help them because part of the quilt.
            It’s a big job and all of us who are here today as well as many others will work with you.  God has a lot of quilters at work in our world, some we know, some we do not.  May you always know joy in this work.  May you always know the warmth and comfort of God’s glorious quilt of creation.  May you always mend what has become frayed and grow the quilt so that all of creation may shine with the glory of God.

In God’s love,

(The Rev’d Dr) Richard Geoffrey Leggett
Saint Faith’s Anglican Church
7284 Cypress Street

Vancouver BC  V6P 5M3

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