The Shalom tapestry is coming along slowly.
Shalom comes slowly,
each stitch hand-crafted prayer,
for mercy, peace, love.
For a couple of months now I have lived with the form and the content of this beautiful strange and life-enhancing word. The quest for shalom means seeking well-being of heart and body, discovering energy and resilience to live faithfully and creatively for God, receiving from the Holy Spirit the freedom to trust our imagination to envision healing and wholeness and justice for our world.
This small tapestry (4 inches by three) is part of a bigger project. When finished it will be the small panel at the bottom of a larger, brasher celebration of Shalom based on rainbow colours. Working with these Hebrew characters, and the English letters in the larger panel, is an experiment in contrast, construction and compassion. This small panel is entirely impressionistic. I love the sound of the word Shalom – the threads impossibly try to give sight to the sound as I say it or hear it spoken; the colours depict mood which you may rightly say is likewise impossible, but the attempt is still important; sometimes while working it I listen to music, carefully chosen music. So reader, what music should be played when stitching Shalom?
During the last two months of stitching Shalom I have prayed for Malala Yousafzai and Afghanistan; for Palestinian people and Jewish settlers; for children, teachers and families in Newtown Massachusets, and for children and families in Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan; for people close to me struggling with the life they are living or trying to survive, and for others I hardly know but whose hurt makes prayer and work for Shalom both an enacted imperative and an essential attribute of spiritual integrity.
To seek Shalom and pursue it, to be a Shalom maker, to recognise again the words of Jesus ‘my Shalom I leave with you’, to lie within reach of and to trust the Shalom that passes all understand ding – not a bad way to live really, or to really live.And during Advent to share the longings of millions for peace on earth and mercy mild....