by Mary Glenn Hadley, Retiring Blueprints Editor
It has been a privilege to work with the USFWI Executive Committee in selecting and developing the theme for the 2007 Triennial which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana July 19-22. It seemed that Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of Colossians 2:2 captured our attention and offered so many possibilities. "I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God." When I think of a tapestry, I envision something beautiful to look at, made with a variety of colors, some more intense than others but each very necessary to produce the design or picture the creator of the tapestry wanted to make. But have you really thought what different colors or threads go into making a tapestry of love? Or as this verse says that you are to be woven into a tapestry of love. What characteristics can be used in us to become a tapestry of love that others will recognize as a work of beauty? Our speakers at the Triennial suggested prayer, encouragement, unity, and understanding as essential threads that bring about love.
The other day I decided that I wanted to complete some crosstitch projects that have been in my drawer for years waiting for me to have time to work on them. So I went to the store to purchase the embroidery floss that would be required to make the designs on the scarves. I was amazed at the many skeins of different colors that I needed just to do one piece and that reminded me that the Triennial didn't have time to discuss the many other aspects that are experienced in our lives that help us become tapestries of love. So the USFW Program book, Blueprints, is devoting time in each lesson to another thread that woven into our lives produces love for others to see.
The first lesson is written by Alice Muhonja Simiyu who is a pastor in Nairobi Yearly Meeting in Kenya. How can we begin to become a tapestry of love unless we know God intimately for God is love? It is in experiencing His love that we can begin to develop love within ourselves. Seeing God as He cares for us makes us humble and appreciative for God provides for us, reveals Himself to us. He give encouragement and hope. We see Him at work in things of nature. God reveals Himself as we worship and even when we go through hardships. God's love never leaves us. Spend some time in your group considering the questions Alice suggests for discussion. How can we fulfill this desire that we become woven into a tapestry of love unless we know the God of love?
The second lesson follows the first very closely because getting to really know God means that we must talk with Him. God's love includes giving us the opportunity to pray directly to Him and when we talk with Him, the love we experience flows out to others. Helen Ellison sees two parts that the thread of prayer plays in the tapestry of love. She sees it "as a gossamer film over the tapestry giving it buoyancy and the ability to float with ease" and she "sees it as the warp threads", the ones that go up and down on the weaving providing the base of weaving. Jesus' disciples asked Him how to pray and maybe we ask that question too sometimes. Study carefully the Lord's Prayer with Helen as she shows how Jesus gave us an example for praying and may your prayer life become so rich, people see that core thread of love that emanates from and through you.
It has been a wonderful privilege to serve as your Program Editor over the past three years. What a special privilege it has been to get to know the women and a few men who have so graciously shared their understandings and experiences with us to enrich our lives as the pages of each Blueprints have come alive. I am happy though to pass this baton to Sarah Lookabill and anticipate the contribution she will bring to the development of the next Blueprints.