Sometimes people ask me “why do you weave clergy stoles, or vestments, or paraments?” But usually, what they really want to know is “do these things really matter to God? Can’t you worship God anywhere, without all these trappings?”
The answer is “of course, yes you can.” But then I say “have you read Exodus?” Because there are several chapters there that describe the materials needed for the construction of the tabernacle - so much fabric! A massive undertaking for the spinners and weavers. And then the description of the garments that are to be made for Aaron the High Priest, fine linen and wool dyed purple and scarlet, and decorated with gold. So, yes, these things do matter to God.
But that’s kind of a flippant answer. The real answer is this: we all have within us a spark of creativity, because we are made in the image of God the creator. And we can and should use that creativity to the glory of God, according to the gifts given to us. So the composer writes a beautiful hymn, the wood worker carves the altar, the glazier makes a beautiful window, the vintner brews communion wine. Me, I’m a weaver.
The question that follows is “but it’s so expensive - wouldn’t it be better to use the money for missions or to help the poor?” And I answer “One of Jesus disciples asked this same question nearly 2,000 years ago, when Mary poured an entire bottle of expensive perfume over Jesus’ feet.” There are so many things about Jesus that Judas just didn’t understand!
Because God is a God of abundance, and it’s not a question of “either-or” but of “both-and.” Because God will give us what we need in abundance, not for our own wealth and power, but so we can both glorify Him and carry out His commandments to care for others.
And so I weave. For the glory of God and, yes, to make money. And then give a tithe, and a bit more, to care for others. So if you buy something handwoven by me, whether it’s my line of liturgical weaving, or one of my scarves or shawls, you help me help others.
This year I am supporting the Mama Lynn Center/Congo Women Arise, to help the women of the east Congo who have been victims of sexual violence to recover physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially.