The Tapestry

Tapestries, I’ve been thinking, can point us to some significant aspects about setting vision for a church. Perhaps we need to ensure that in every visioning process within a congregation, we have a weaver working alongside us creating a tapestry on a loom as we try to articulate a vision on paper.

First, a tapestry is made up of hundreds and sometimes thousands of threads going back and forth as the warp and woof. For instance, in the side picture of a loom, basic vertical threads, called either the weft or woof, provide a framework whereupon the other threads, which are called the warp, are woven to create pattern and form. The warp threads carry the colour and form the picture or pattern. The warp threads may vary in type and thickness, content and style. Some may be fine and small; others broad, coarse or knotty. Occasionally, a weaver will include other elements in the tapestry, from pieces of cloth or metal to branches, feathers or all manners of unexpected materials.

A single thread a tapestry does not make, and neither does a single sentence or catchphrase ever serve adequately to convey all the rich variety and life of a congregation. People sometimes are prone to ask, “what’s the vision for the congregation?” when more appropriately we should ask, “what are the visions God is giving this people?” In the book of Joel, echoed on the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts 2, the promise of the outpoured Holy Spirit of God was that many dreams would be dreamt and countless visions would be grasped.

When I think of God’s calling upon a congregation, it is never a single-note calling. In truth, there are many common key threads foundational to the calling, not just of St. Andrew’s, but of every church. Scripture sounds out the most essential of them. We are called to praise the Lord. We are called to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love others as ourselves. We are called to work out our salvation in fear and trembling, and to be a people constantly drawing our strength and vibrancy from Christ, the Vine, into whom we are grafted, and by whose power and grace, we then bear fruit for the Kingdom. We are called to trust in his Word and rely on his Spirit. We are called to announce, proclaim, celebrate and invite all into the Kingdom life found in Jesus. We are called to live out within our fellowship all of the “one another” commands found in the New Testament (e.g., encourage, pray for, counsel, guide, strengthen, comfort, forgive, rebuke, teach, bear burdens and love). We are called to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. We are called to pray without ceasing. We are called to be a people of Good News, a people of grace, and a people of blessing. Many more affirmations of scripture could be added as the foundation threads of the tapestry essential for the identity and witness of every fellowship that seeks to honor and glorify Jesus Christ.

When we look at the call and character of a congregation, though, and as important as those foundation threads—the woof—are, what makes each body of faith so remarkable and holy, is multi-faceted, unique colourings, hues and textures that the Spirit weaves as the warp of our story and life together as the people of God.

I invite you to ponder the amazing, beautiful, eccentric, holy tapestry God is weaving, a living tapestry called St. Andrew’s. God takes all the experiences of our past and all our dreams for the future; all of the personalities of the people who have been part of St. Andrew’s together with the extraordinary corporate character and story of this fellowship as a whole; all our Spirit-given giftings and all our human quirkiness; all our special strengths, passions and blessings we have from our heritage of faith and unique placement within this community together with all the Spirit-whispered summons to behold around us the fields white for harvest and souls longing for hope and grace. God takes all of these elements and more, and is lovingly weaving them together upon the universal command to his people to fashion St. Andrew’s as an absolutely precious, matchless masterpiece. What do you perceive as the picture being revealed in us?

Please note my phrasing. It is present tense. Our tapestry is not complete; rather God is still at work weaving his purpose and call in the midst of this present time. As we seek to discern vision (a multi-faceted vision!), we ought to remember that God hasn’t finished with us yet. Hallelujah! The Lord has great things he wants to do for us and through us, and our task is to humbly, expectantly and prayerfully invite God to have his way with us. Come, Holy Spirit, and weave your story and your glory in us! Come, Holy Spirit, and weave us into your glory and the story of your grace! Amen.


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