I like quilts. I like quilting books and magazines. I like blogs about quilts. I like quilt shops. The quilt exhibit at any county fair is always my favorite exhibit. My favorite decor is primitive early American folk art design, which, of course, contains lots of vintage and antique quilts as furniture covers, wall hangings, bed coverings, cabinet displays, etc. So, as I perused the local re-sale shop in town earlier this week, I was delighted to find a colorful mosaic crib sized quilt done in small squares combined with vertical and horizontal strips in perfect condition for only $3. Truth be told I felt a twinge of guilt as I chose to place it in my basket. Because I am an occasional novice quilter, I am fully aware of how much time and work goes into any quilting project regardless of pattern or size. Any homemade quilt is worth far more than $3.
No, I don't need a cribbed sized quilt. Yes, it was an impulse purchase made without any plan or intention.
After leaving the re-sale shop, I needed to stop in the Tractor Supply, the Wal-mart of country folks. While there I glanced at the book rack and a magazine caught my eye. I picked up the latest copy of "Primitive Design" and took several moments gleefully admiring the photos of primitive early American folk art decor. As I flipped through the pages I became enlightened as to why I couldn't resist the impulse purchase of that $3 quilt. It was the perfect wall hanging for the master bedroom. I have been struggling with decor choices in this big farm house ever since we moved in 4 years ago. Since we enjoy hosting guests in our home, a warm and inviting atmosphere is something I desire to create, but lack the natural talent. For quite some time I've been praying and asking the Lord to expand my creativity in the arena of home decor. I feel blessed that this little quilt, aka wall hanging, is an answer to that prayer. It gave me confidence that our Lord will continue to expand that creative aspect I desire.
All the small, insignificant pieces of fabric, in decades past they were scraps from other sewing projects, pieced together into something useful and beautiful is why I enjoy quilts so very much. To me, quilts reflect the tapestry of mankind. All colors, all shapes, all sizes, all designs; some pretty, some plain, some bold, some subtle - every singular piece an individual representation of a person. On their own these tiny scraps of fabric are not useful. However, when joined together by an artisan, an exquisite and serviceable work of art comes to life. Similarly, the average individual doesn't accomplish great things. However, when we let the Master Artist, use us for His purposes and plans, He joins us together with other individuals, like tiny quilt pieces, and wonderful and purposeful things happen. Quilts remind me of this.
Earlier today, I read THIS article about a fellow who decided to see what it really takes to make a chicken sandwich. He raised his own chicken, planted wheat for the bread, and cucumbers for the pickles, etc. He even traveled to the sea to harvest salt water that he had to dehydrate for the salt so he could season his sandwich. The article states that it took him six months and cost him around $1,500 to create this chicken sandwich. The point of his adventure was to point out to the average American how much we take for granted. On our own, preparing a chicken sandwich is a monumental task. But when joined within a community of others, such as farmers, bakers, livestock producers, wholesalers, grocers, etc., a chicken sandwich is a quick and satisfying lunch. Just like quilt pieces, separately these individuals don't supply a finished product, but when pieced together they have purpose and functionality.
However, the article sparked something else inside me. When I was reading about this man's adventure to harvest salt, I thought of the Bible passages that tell Christians to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. I have found that most sermons and writings on this subject focus on the seasoning aspect of salt and likewise, Christians are to strive to be a delicate balance of seasoning in this world. Not too strong in flavor or fervor as to be spit out or spurred away, but certainly not so sparse and meek that we are dull and unflavored, thus, failing to accomplish the command of going to all the nations and recruiting the lost and dying for Christ's cause.
This article reminded me how very valuable salt has been throughout the ages. Salt is not just a seasoning. For centuries it has been used, along with smoke, vinegar and sugar, as a food preservative. Without it many peoples and entire communities would die due to starvation during long journeys or winter months when food was sparse. Our children have studied in history that at one time salt was so valuable it was used as currency, equal to gold, and there were wars over salt, aka the Salt Wars. As I pondered this, I realized that Christians are not to be only a sprinkling of flavoring among the lost and dying of this world. But we are exceptionally valuable to the Lord because we are His representatives called to preserve His righteousness. So, next time you read or hear about your mission to be salt and light unto a dark and dying world, please consider that God not only commands one to season this world with His Good News of Jesus Christ, but He also directs us to uphold and preserve His righteous standard detailed in His Holy Word, the Holy Bible.