I was recently privileged to see the Great Tapestry of Scotland. This is an amazing creative piece of storytelling art. It has drawn together a thousand stitchers from all across the country to share the story of Scotland. The tapestry depicts great beauty, challenge and some of the harsh realities of life – the tapestry was being displayed in a former Jute Mill. Woven into this story is the arrival of Christianity in Scotland from Ninian in the fourth century and Columba in the sixth century. What are the threads that link Columba and Ninian to Jesus – how did they come to hear the Jesus story and experience the living presence of the God’s Spirit?
The Sunday readings for the Easter season (50 days from Easter Day until Pentecost) make use of the Acts of the Apostles rather than the Old Testament. This is an ancient tradition dating back to the early church possibly to remember and encourage the spread the story of God’s redemption made alive in Jesus. Looking at the Tapestry I was reminded of two stories from the Acts: Tabitha and Lydia. Tabitha (the only woman to be named disciple) stitched clothes for those in need and was healed by Peter. Lydia was a business woman who dealt in purple cloth opening her home to Paul and and the early Christian community. These people are the opening panels in a tapestry which centres on the person of Jesus Christ.
The Great Tapestry of Scotland ‘ends’ with the statement that the tapestry ‘may never end, may be added to over the coming times…’ This is also true for the great tapestry of the gospel. Each of us is a panel being woven into a huge story of beauty, challenge, reality and life. Our panels are by no means perfect – some of the messiness is hidden from the gaze of others, but without the knots and the hidden stitching the panel could not be created. In the light of the longer days I encourage you, if possible, to enjoy some of the Scottish landscape which helped shape the Great Tapestry, to give thanks to God and to reflect on the threads that link us to Jesus and how this is reflected in the tapestry of our lives.
Peace be with you