30 June 2020
Mary-Catherine has just added the last touches to our living-room – a new, handmade quilt. She has called it ‘Sea-Saw’. We can see the sea and much else besides. Like the see-saw in the playpark, the quilt invites us to rise and fall in our exploration of the artwork and like the see-saw it is something to be done together.
‘Do you think it’s too playful for the living-room?’ asked the quilter. Not at all. This is its charm for it weaves a magic, challenging the formality of sofa, book-case and chest of drawers! It invites us to open our hearts to the warmth of the sun, the freedom of the beach, the joy of an adventure with boat, kite and hot air balloon.
Can you see the shells sown into the quilt? And how many buttons from Duttons in York can you count? Can you spot our house number and the four children? Can you identify and name them? They’ve grown up now! And what about the detailed embroidery and the unexpected cat in the bottom right hand corner?
The wall-hanging is not only playful, it is full of memories. Mary-Catherine loves beach houses and the flying geese. That’s what you call the pattern of triangles bordering the quilt. The big boat is Lindisfarne, the wee one is Mayflower. The sign post takes you to favourite places in St. Andrews. Woven throughout is some Masefield:
I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to sail her by.
The vibrant colours make an immediate and lasting impact. The rainbow pales in comparison. God’s multi-coloured love is celebrated here amongst so many individual pieces of fabric, patiently sewn together over the past seven years. It has been a labour and a celebration of love!
There are two surprises. The kites have a life of their own. No-one is holding their strings nor restricting their freedom. They are simply allowed to be. The Social Work Department was blessed with such an attitude, valuing the person above all else. And not only is the sun shining but also the moon.
There is a point in the day and at particular times of the year when the two are seen in the sky together but the one dominates the day, the other the night. In this quilt time stands still, the harvest of play. Sun and moon together, night and day, dreams and memories, work and play are all held together in unity.
This is where God is to be found. His kingdom holds surprising things together – the last is first, the human and the divine are one, heaven is revealed on earth. St Paul says, ‘In Christ, all things hold together.’ This is the fulfilment of God’s promise, the place of equilibrium and unity celebrated in the sea-saw!