Years ago I stopped giving up things for Lent, and started taking up things for Lent. One year I asked a friend who is an expert on Jazz and the Bible to compile some music for me to listen to throughout Lent. I still struggle to 'get' jazz, but I do understand its passion, its rhythm's, its re-construal of the world, the place of improvisation and collaboration and inspiration in music that celebrates human longing and creativity. The long track of Duke Ellington's 'David danced before the Lord' I played endlessly in the car to my great blessing! I still think the drummer was a genius.
Another time I read through the poetry of Emily Dickinson and discovered a whole world of grace expressed in the oddity and precision of one who told the truth and told it slant. Another year I took up the telephone - as they say in cooking programmes - 'you literally just' take up the phone - every night of Lent I phoned someone for no other reason than to speak with them and wish them well in their lives. Since then I have seen the phone as a conduit of friendship, conversation, fun, comfort, and if occasionally an interruption, even these can be moments of grace.
After a long hiatus I have 'taken up' my tapestry frame, again. I am working on a new tapestry which will be my project through Lent, Easter and beyond. Working a tapestry is, amongst other things, a way of finding out how stressed you are! Doing it right and well, you mustn't pull the thread too tight (so unclench the teeth and relax the shoulders); working on small guage canvas (26 to inch) you can't work either mindlessly or rapidly (so rememebr, there is no deadline). Controlled gentleness and contentment with slowness gets it done........................... eventually. I wish I could always believe and practice in my life, the observation of can't remember who, 'Snails do the will of God slowly!
I don't do 'kits', I prefer to design my own tapestries, or work freehand from a picture. This one is a Celtic cross made up of five squares,(and made up out of my head!) with the interior of each showing intertwining celtic knots depicting the Trinity. It is being done in stranded cotton, the bright colours ranging through the rainbow, and the colours chosen randomly apart from the strong outlines of the Trinity symbols. (I'll post a photo once it's recognisably what I've described!!) Tapestry is the creation of a picture or image from thousands of intersecting stitches - no wonder it has been used as a metaphor of human life, its textures, colours, patterns, shapes and overall theme.
Not sure what it will look like but it is an attempt to show the relations between the suffering and crucified love of God in Christ, and the eternal loving relations of the Triune God. We had a class last year on 'Rediscovering the Triune God' basing much of our discussions around the theology of Jurgen Moltmann. His contribution to contemporary thought includes profound meditation on the crucified God, and the effect of the crucifixion on the eternal relations of Father Son and Spirit. As a Lenten theme it cries out for meditation and prayer.